Rafa Benitez holds '˜face-to-face' talks with under-fire Newcastle captain Fabricio Coloccini
Rafa Benitez held face-to-face talks with captain Fabricio Coloccini after taking charge of Newcastle United.
Coloccini is out of tonight’s game against Leicester City.
But the defender – who has a calf problem – could be fit for Sunday’s Tyne-Wear derby.
Jonjo Shelvey, signed by Benitez shortly before he left Liverpool in May 2010, has worn the skipper’s armband in Coloccini’s absence.
Shelvey will again captain the relegation-threatened club at the King Power Stadium.
And Benitez spoke to the pair after signing a three-year deal at Newcastle.
There had been calls for Steve McClaren, Benitez’s predecessor, to strip Coloccini of the captaincy after a string of poor performances for a team lacking leadership.
Asked about Coloccini, Benitez said: “I have been talking with Shelvey, Coloccini – a lot of players.
“I didn’t have time to talk with everyone. I shook hands with everyone.
“We had some meetings together on Saturday morning, talking about tactics and all these things that we normally talk about.
“I have individual conversations, face-to-face with some players. Coloccini was one of them.”
Coloccini watched Saturday’s training session with Benitez.
“On Saturday we had a tactical training session,” said Benitez. “We were doing some movements that I would like to do in the future.
“And he was there, so he came outside to see what we were doing.”
Coloccini expressed his “confidence” that United, under Benitez, could climb out of the relegation zone.
“I was talking with him, he was really confident that the team will do well because it’s a good team,” said Benitez.