Captain Colo
By Jamie Orrell
Thursday 20 Oct 2011 08:57:00
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After a shaky start to his career on Tyneside no-one would have believed that one day Fabricio Coloccini would be Newcastle United captain. But the Argentine will lead the team into the 2011/12 campaign after a staggering turnaround in form.

 

Some will argue that Coloccini was the scapegoat at times during the Magpies' infamous 08/09 season as they slid out of the Premier League but the fact was that the South American was not ready for the English game. His darkest hour came against Chelsea in Alan Shearer’s first game in charge of his home town club. Coloccini presented the ball to Lampard, Chelsea scored and went on to win the game comfortably.

Over the summer the former Deportivo defender spent the summer on the transfer list but stayed on Tyneside as they attempted to return to the Premier League at the first attempt. But Colo cemented his place at the heart of Newcastle’s defense and was arguable the Championship defender of the season as United stormed to the title.

One of Coloccini’s defining moments was the headed winner at the Cardiff City Stadium in the September 2009. That proved to United fans that the £10.8million flop was here to fight for the team and his reputation amongst it’s fans. He continued to star for United and the Toon Army rewarded Coloccini with the now famous "I want curly hair too" song.

Colo followed up his excellent form at Championship level with some outstanding displays in the top flight. He headed home a last gasp equaliser against Wigan in October and was outstanding in both derby games against Sunderland and England international Darren Bent in particular. But Coloccini still showed glimpses of fraility especially against powerful forwards. He was dismissed in Newcastle crushing 5-1 defeat against Bolton after elbowing Johan Elmander. But for the most part Coloccini was class. His chest and volley goal against Spurs in January was the Argentine’s season high.

And now after his sensational comeback Fabricio Coloccini will take over the captain’s armband from the departed Kevin Nolan, seeing off competition from the passionate Joey Barton and local lad Steven Taylor.

Coloccini will not be the club's first overseas captain – Geremi wore the armband during an ill-fated six-month spell under Sam Allardyce. But language problems may be an issue. Coloccini still does not speak perfect English or French! He is not known as a shouter on the field like Kevin Nolan and his impact on team bonding can also be questioned.

After his appointment Coloccini said: “I am not like Kevin. Kevin was a perfect captain for us in the last two seasons and played a really big role in us winning promotion and staying in the Premier League. Kevin was always talking, and I am quieter than him.

 

“But I still think I can get my ideas and opinions across in a different way. In training, and on the pitch, I hope that I will provide a good example for the others to follow. That is what the team needs me to do, and that is the best way for me to be a leader.”

 

Alan Pardew has already stated he hopes there will be more input from John Carver and Steve Stone in that department and it is clear that that his two assistants will certainly police much of what happens in and around the dressing room after the breakup of the Toon’s player’s union.

Joey Barton has backed the appointment of Coloccini on his official twitter page. He said: “I'm happy for Colo and it's probably the correct decision given my precarious contract situation. It gives stability.

 

"I'll be a leader without an armband and I'll be there for Colo as will as all the lads regardless, selfishly it lets me concentrate on playing well every week."

 

Coloccini himself is excited by the prospect of leading United into the new season in his first spell as a club captain. He said: “At some of my other clubs, I have been second or third choice, but I have never really worn the captain’s armband before. In Spain, the captain is normally the player who has been at the club for the most years. That is how most Spanish clubs choose their captain.

 

“Being a captain in England is different. It is a much bigger responsibility and I am ready for that. In other countries, the captain is not really any different to the other players at the club. But in England, they have a different role.

 

“The fans and the press give the captain more importance and you are seen as a much more of a figurehead for the club. Off the pitch, I know my job will change a bit. But on the pitch and the training ground, I will be trying to keep things the same.”

 


 

Jamie Orrell

@jamieorrell

http://born-offside.com



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