This is what Jose Enrique says to players thinking of signing for Newcastle United

Always last out, almost always smiling.
Jose Enrique.Jose Enrique.
Jose Enrique.

If you wanted to interview Jose Enrique, Jonas Gutierrez or Fabricio Coloccini during their time at Newcastle United, had to be prepared to wait. And wait.

They were inseparable during their time at St James’s Park. Enrique, Gutierrez and Coloccini helped each other on the pitch – and they also helped each other off the field, and their friendship endures to this day.

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Gutierrez and Coloccini are still playing in their native Argentina – for Banfield and San Lorenzo respectively – while Enrique is a global brand ambassador for Switch & Co, having hung up his boots in 2017.

“Jonas played in front of me,” said Enrique. “I talked to him all the time, and he used to laugh at that. I use to say to him ‘you have to be like a wall. I pass to you, and you keep it and then give it back to me and then the rest … I do it’. We used to laugh at that.

“Obviously, Coloccini played on the left side as a centre-back. So we used to play together, meet outside of the football pitch together.

“Colo used to love to do Argentinian steak, very famous steak. We loved it. For me, that gave me life as well, because we are human beings, we have lives, and not everything is our football.

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“So having people outside of the football pitch, you can really get with them and enjoy, and it made so much different and made me so much happier as well.”

Jonas Gutierrez, left, and Jose Enrique.Jonas Gutierrez, left, and Jose Enrique.
Jonas Gutierrez, left, and Jose Enrique.

They would often emerge from the dressing room an hour or so later than everyone else. They’d talk and talk about the game they’d just played – and life – as Gutierrez’s choice of music blared out.

“We were going to the ice bath together, always,” said Enrique. “We would stay there 10-15 minutes for recovery, and to talk about the game.

“Blame Jonas for the music! Chat, chat, chat. We were talking about the game, thinking about how it was well and wrong, and all things personal-wise as well. We were always the last ones, always.”

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Enrique, Gutierrez and Coloccini went through a lot together at Newcastle. There was relegation in Gutierrez and Coloccini’s first season on Tyneside, promotion and a number managerial changes.

COLUMBUS, OH - JULY 26:  on July 26, 2011 at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.   (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** nameCOLUMBUS, OH - JULY 26:  on July 26, 2011 at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.   (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** name
COLUMBUS, OH - JULY 26: on July 26, 2011 at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** name

Gutierrez’s biggest challenge came off the pitch when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Gutierrez, memorably, helped keep the club in the Premier League after being given the all-clear following surgery and chemotherapy. The winger would later support Enrique in his own cancer battle.

On relegation, Enrique said: “It was awful. But at the same time I believe it was good for the club, because, at the end, a lot of players who didn’t want to stay left. We cleared the dressing room of players that didn’t want to stay. That was the best season as a Newcastle player, even if the season after we played in the Premier League again.

"I really, really enjoyed playing in the Championship. I had a great season with the team. I loved it – it was so beautiful.”

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The Championship season ended well, but pre-season hadn’t started well. Newcastle were embarrassingly beaten 6-1 by Leyton Orient.

Former Newcastle United captain Fabricio Coloccini playing for San Lorenzo.Former Newcastle United captain Fabricio Coloccini playing for San Lorenzo.
Former Newcastle United captain Fabricio Coloccini playing for San Lorenzo.

“After that, we had a meeting,” said 34-year-old Enrique, who was given the all-clear last year after having a brain tumour removed. “When you’re relegated, something is not going well in the club.

“At the end, who plays on the pitch is the players, so we’re as much, or even more, than the owners to blame. I know (owner) Mike Ashley’s been criticised because of that, but the reality is that the ones who play are us.

“We said ‘listen, it’s not good enough, you can see a lot of players when they play they aren’t happy to play in the second division, so the best solution is to leave as well’.”

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Enrique, after two seasons in English football, really got into his stride in English football’s second tier.

“For me, it was my favourite season as a Newcastle player, because it was like ‘OK, now I’m adapted to this football’,” said the left-back.

“There was a lot of long balls, fights, elbows everywhere! It was completely different to how it is now.”

The club re-established itself in the Premier League the following season, though manager Chris Hughton, inexplicably, was sacked.

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“I don’t understand why they sacked Chris Hughton,” said Enrique. “No-one understood, because he was the manager who put us all together. We loved him as a man and as a manager.

“We didn’t really understand why. It wasn’t a good decision. We had a good season. I think I had a good season as well. I had one year left on my contract, and then everyone knows what happened.”

Yet that season Newcastle would finish fifth – and Enrique was taunted by fans on his first return to St James’s Park with Liverpool.

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“I was happy they had an incredible season,” said Enrique, now a football agent. “I was happy inside for them, because the people treated me so well. They still treat me so well. It’s a place that will always be in my heart.

“Every player that asks me about Newcastle, I always say ‘join’, because, as a club, it’s a top club.”

Read part one of our exclusive interview with Jose Enrique here

Enrique is a global ambassador for wellness company Switch & Co, and is hosting a series of fitness and wellness sessions alongside Switch+ coaches

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