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Football: Dunne's French kiss-off.

Byline: JOE DANIELS

A BIG order of French fried has gone in from Richard Dunne.

But before Kevin Keegan preaches healthy eating, Ireland's Honey Monster reckons the only thing that's had its chips is Manchester City's all-French central defensive partnership.

The 24-year-old said: "I'm busting a gut to push Sylvain Distin and David Sommeil as hard as I can to get into the team on a regular basis."

England manager Sven Goran Eriksson was at Southampton last Saturday to run the rule over James Beattie. But what the Swede witnessed was a true international-class performance - from Dunne, a clear winner in his heavyweight battle with the England wannabe.

Dunne said: "That was just my first full Premiership appearance this season. It takes my City starts up to 90 in the league and I'm keen to press on and get the ton.

"It is a matter of getting my head down and doing the business every week."

This time last year Dunne's world was in turmoil. He was a young man going nowhere fast after Keegan hit him with a hefty fine for a serious breach of club discipline. There was even a suggestion his contract might be torn up.

But now Dunne said: "I've matured and buckled down. I am not unsettled, I am grand. The manager has said to me on plenty of occasions to just wait for a chance and then it's up to me. I think my time has come again."

Keegan is thrilled at City's 'new' player... and talk of linking up with his former international boss Mick McCarthy at Sunderland has been shelved indefinitely.

The City boss said: "Dunney is doing everything he can to show us and himself that he has got a future here.

"A year ago he was always late for training. Now he's asking to play in the reserves to maintain his sharpness.

"Of all my men he's the one who can count himself the most unlucky in terms of attitude and training not to have been in the side before now."

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RICHARD DUNNE
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 9, 2003
Words:345
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