JOHN Carver has dismissed criticism of Newcastle United captain Fabricio Coloccini – and insists he has been ‘outstanding’ this season.
Coloccini was one of a number of players to come under fire in the wake of last week’s 5-0 defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
However, Newcastle head coach Carver insists the Argentinian defender is held in high regard by all at the club, and has refused to blame the 33-year-old for the team’s recent struggles.
Carver said: “I think he’s been great for me.
“The goal (Edin) Dzeko scored, he might have done a bit better with, but we never had any pressure on the ball. He’s the captain of this team and he holds us together. He’s been outstanding – in my opinion and the staff’s opinion and the players’ opinion – in the games that we’ve been playing.”
Coloccini is one of Newcastle’s longest-serving current players, having joined in 2008, and he was made captain after the departure of Kevin Nolan three years later.
His leadership skills have been questioned by some in the past, but Carver insists the defender is key to driving his team on.
Carver added: “Of course (he’s a leader). He’s huge for us, with his personality.
“There are not many proper leaders in the Premier League, if I’m perfectly honest.
“Whenever you sit with coaches and managers, that’s what they’re all asking for. They’re all saying we need to find a leader.
“And we do rely on him. He’s been a great servant to this football club and the fans, as far as I’m concerned, do like him.
“Everybody’s going to get criticised, I’m going to get criticised, and sometimes you just have to take that on the chin and deal with it, especially after the result we’ve just had (last weekend).”