JJ plays down Dyer rivalry

Last updated : 26 March 2003 By Martyn Elliott

With Paul Scholes, Steven Gerrard and David Beckham all assured of their place in Sven’s starting line-up it appears that JJ and Dyer are battling it out with Danny Murphy for the dreaded left midfield slot against Liechtenstein and Turkey.

It is a relatively quite week for football journalists so the thought of stoking up a rivalry between two team-mates must have appealed to the headline writers – but unfortunately for them JJ gave a press conference performance that Alan Shearer would have been proud of.

"Kieron has played out on the left, and so have I. But that's as competitive as it gets. There's no rivalry or anything like that," said the youngster.

"Me and Kieron are good friends on and off the pitch. He was good for me when I first moved to Newcastle. He went out of his way to ring me up and get me out of the house. He helped me mix in.

"If you are a central midfielder for your club throughout the whole of the season, and all of a sudden you get put out on the left or right-hand side, you face different options in the game.

"I'm not a winger, so naturally I'd come inside. And maybe that's not what you prefer a left winger to do. It does make it a bit difficult playing in a different position.

"I think of myself as a central midfielder but at the end of the day if there is a problem in the side and the manager feels a certain player can fill that position I'm sure I would do it. I've played on the right-hand side for Newcastle, and I used to play on the left for Nottingham Forest in a diamond formation, so I know I can do it. But obviously I would prefer centre midfield."