FOOTBALL: Nathan reflects on an up and down season
NATHAN Dyer jetted off on his summer holidays content that he and his Swansea City team-mates deserve to put their feet up after a challenging season at the Liberty Stadium.
In February last year, the 26-year-old, from Trowbridge, scored twice in a man-of-the-match performance as the Swans lifted the League Cup and set-up a maiden campaign in the Europa League but a historic European adventure meant that City's season began early, with a third qualifying round tie against Malmö on August 1.
The strain of competing in Europe led to Swansea flirting with the Premier League relegation zone and after manager Michael Laudrup was sacked with three months of the season remaining, Dyer had to adjust to team-mate Garry Monk taking the reins.
But the Swans eased to a 12th-placed finish and with Monk confirmed as the club's permanent chief, Trowbridge ace Dyer is looking forward to starting afresh next season – after some well earned downtime.
“It's nice to finish and have a bit of a break because it's been an up and down season,” Dyer told the Wiltshire Times.
“It's been an up and down season. At one point, we were getting a little bit too near to the relegation zone but thankfully, we stayed away from there in the end.
“It was tough because we started so early because of the Europa League and there's been so many games but I think we've done well in the end.
“I've known Garry Monk since I came to the club (in 2009) and I'm sure that the senior players here will be there to help him out. I'm sure he'll bring in his own players and try to move us forward.”
Dyer brought the curtain down on his season with a superbly-taken left-footed finish in Swansea's 3-1 win at Sunderland on the final day of campaign but the winger admits that his year has been hampered by injury.
On December 15, he suffered a painful-looking ankle injury in a game at Norwich City, with television broadcasters refusing to show replays of Dyer's ankle twisting as he fell awkwardly following a collision with Sebastien Bassong in that evening's television highlights.
The Swansea man, who had opened the scoring before he was sent to hospital with a suspected broken ankle, luckily escaped with just ligament damage but didn't return to action until the end of January.
Dyer said: “It was a really painful one but it could have been a lot worse.
“I was out for seven weeks but the problem after that was that I kept having those little niggles and setbacks every now and again – it's definitely been a problem for me.
“But I think that I was just getting in form at the end of the season. I'm fine now and I'm looking forward to trying to push on once pre-season starts.”
MORE SPORTS NEWS, PICTURES AND REPORTS IN THIS FRIDAY’S WITLSHIRE TIMES. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @WTSport