Under-fire Fabricio Coloccini responds to questions about his captaincy at Newcastle

Fabricio Coloccini
Fabricio Coloccini

Fabricio Coloccini is adamant that he’s still the right man to captain Newcastle United to safety.

Coloccini’s captaincy has been called into question at the relegation-threatened club.

The long-serving defender, doubtful for next week’s game against Stoke City with a calf injury, has struggled for form this season.

And there were calls for Coloccini, appointed skipper four and a half years ago, to be stripped of the captaincy in the wake of the club’s embarrassing 5-1 defeat at Chelsea earlier this month.

But the 34-year-old – who was surprisingly handed a one-year contract extension on the eve of the season – feels he is remains the right man to wear the armband.

Asked if he was able to shoulder the responsibility of leading the team, Coloccini said: “Of course, of course.

“All I can do is just try to play and give 100% every game and try to get points.”

Coloccini was an unused substitute for last weekend’s friendly against Lillestrom in La Manga, Spain.

The club has since confirmed that he is doubt for the March 2 game against Stoke with a “slight calf strain”.

Midfielder Jonjo Shelvey wore the skipper’s armband against Lillestrom – he handed it to Steven Taylor after his withdrawal – and the January signing could captain the team at the Britannia Stadium if Coloccini fails to prove his fitness.

Third-bttom Newcastle, however, are refusing to rule Coloccini out of the match.

A club statement read: “Newcastle United can confirm that Fabricio Coloccini suffered a slight calf strain during the club’s training camp in La Manga.

“The defender subsequently underwent a scan, the results of which have shown that the injury is not as bad as has been reported.

“The club’s medical staff are working hard with Coloccini to try and ensure the centre-back is available for selection at Stoke City.”

Coloccini, now in his eighth season at United, suffered the pain of relegation in his first campaign on Tyneside.

And the Argentina international remains confident that Steve McClaren’s inconsistent side can avoid the same fate.

“I’m positive about that,” said Coloccini, who missed the club’s entire pre-season campaign because of a niggling Achilles problem.

“We have good quality. We need to take a few points and win a few games. If we do, we will be OK.”