Newcastle United left-back Paul Dummett divides opinion among Magpies fans, with the no-frills defender’s work often not quite eye-catching enough to draw widespread acclaim.

But manager Rafael Benítez clearly trusts the 26-year-old Geordie, with the Spanish tactician glowing in his praise recently, having rewarded Dummett’s recent form with a new, four-year contract.

“If you talk about players that are important for the team,” Benítez said, “normally people talk about goal-scorers, midfielders and number tens but in modern football, there are not too many consistent left-sided full-backs.

“Paul is exactly that; he understands the game and you know what you can expect from him week in, week out.

“That’s important when you have a lot of big games.

“He’s a player you can trust.

“He was unlucky to miss the first four months of the season through injury, but he’s a player who is quick to learn and knows his job really well.

“His return has given us more competition in a position where we did not have too much before, so we’re really pleased to keep him.”

And, as the below graphic shows, the statistics more than justify Benítez’s faith in the Welsh international.

While Dummett may not be the most adventurous of full-backs, he is very solid defensively, which is reflected his numbers for the season so far.

Dummett stats

Owing to the injury that kept him out for the first few months of the season, the sample size for Dummett is smaller than that of fellow Newcastle full-backs DeAndre Yedlin and Javier Manquillo.

But the defender’s performances have been strong, producing the highest averages for tackles, interceptions and clearances per 90 of the three.

“It’s my boyhood club and I’ve been a supporter for many years so to extend my stay at the club for even longer is really important to me,” Dummett told NUFC TV upon inking his new terms.

“I’ve always wanted to stay here and the manager and the club have wanted to keep me so I’m really pleased to have signed the new contract and hopefully there are many more years to come.”

With solidity at the back one of Benítez’s strong suits, it’s easy to see why he values Dummett so highly.