STEVE Harper’s been backed to be a top coach when he hangs up his gloves – but the goalkeeper still has a big role to play on the pitch at Newcastle United.
Long-serving Harper is yet to make an appearance this season.
And the arrival of Rob Elliot in August led to speculation the 36-year-old’s future could be away from St James’s Park.
However, Harper still has two years left on his Newcastle contract, and assistant manager John Carver insists the Easington-born player has an important role to play on and off the field at the club.
Harper, pictured, captained a strong reserve team against Bolton Wanderers last week, and if he’s not in the starting XI, he’s still playing his part, according to Carver.
“Steve’s very important here, especially with the younger lads,” said Carver.
“The information he gives on the pitch is very good. Listen, there’s no doubt he will go into coaching. By the information he gives the players you can see that.
“That can only benefit him and the players he has around him.”
Meanwhile, United’s Yohan Cabaye gave the club an injury scare when he suffered an ankle problem in France’s Euro 2012 qualifier against Albania on Friday night, which they won 3-0.
However, the midfielder is hopeful he will be fit for tomorrow night’s crucial game against Bosnia and Herzegovina in Paris, from which France need a point to qualify for next summer’s tournament.
“My left ankle got stamped on – I didn’t want to take the risk and came off,” said Cabaye.
“I will have tests. I don’t know whether it’s a sprain or a bad bruise, but it was very painful and I couldn’t carry on like that.”
France coach Laurent Blanc said: “He took a heavy blow on his ankle. Our Albanian friends shook us up well.”
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew, however, will be more concerned about his summer signing’s availability for Sunday’s home game against Tottenham Hotspur, and won’t want any risks taken should he not be 100 per cent.