Fabricio Coloccini’s been backed to keep a cool head in the heat of the Wear-Tyne derby – and lead by example at the Stadium of Light, writes Miles Starforth.
Newcastle United’s captain has struggled for form this season.
Mbemba and Colo missed pre-season, came straight in. It’s been difficult, quite a lot of players like that that we signed late. So they’ve adapted, and leadership is a big thingSteve McClaren
And Coloccini also had to play catch-up with his fitness after missing all of the club’s pre-season games.
But head coach Steve McClaren feels Coloccini – who was handed a new deal in the summer – has come through a “difficult” start to the season alongside summer signing Chancel Mbemba ahead of tomorrow’s game against Sunderland.
And he also believes the 33-year-old has the “composure and control” his team will need at the Stadium of Light in order to end a run of five successive derby defeats.
“(Chancel) Mbemba and Colo missed pre-season, came straight in,” said McClaren.
“It’s been difficult, quite a lot of players like that that we signed late.
“So they’ve adapted, and leadership is a big thing. Composure, control. And you could be 21 and have that maturity to do that and that’s what – what are these games about.
“What every game is about. We’ve seen that. If you don’t control yourself against Arsenal, against whoever, you get sent-off. So it’s about every game.
“Approaching it the same way – why should this game be different?”
Coloccini was wanted by former Newcastle manager Alan Pardew at Crystal Palace in the summer, but he ended up signing a contract extension at St James’s Park.
“There were a few opportunities and offers to leave the club,” said Coloccini, now in his eighth season at United.
“So I went to the club and said ‘I want to stay, but it’s up to you if you want me to be part of the new project with the new manager’.
“I said ‘I want to be here’, and they wanted me here, so it wasn’t difficult to get the deal.”