Does Fabricio Coloccini still have a role to play at St. James’ Park?

Newcastle United may have got off to a fairly improved start against Southampton on the opening day of the season, yet in somewhat characteristic style for the Magpies in recent years, Steve McClaren’s new side nevertheless crumbled once again when tasked with facing Swansea City last time out.

 

The newly installed boss on Tyneside now has a lot to contend with ahead of Newcastle’s upcoming trip to Old Trafford this weekend. Should new-boy, Florian Thauvin, be handed his debut in the black & white against Manchester United? Will Papiss Cisse continue to operate as a loan striker in McClaren’s preferred set-up? And just who will be drafted in to replace Daryl Janmaat after his reckless sending off at the Liberty Stadium last Saturday?

 

Either way, there is arguably one more decision left on Steve McClaren’s mind that should perhaps arrive as more of an immediate concern than the aforementioned issues. After his two rather jaded performances at the back for Newcastle so far this season – does club captain, Fabricio Coloccini, ultimately still have a future left at St. James’ beyond the 2015/16 campaign?

 

Well, considering the fact that this once highly rated Argentinean international is currently operating in the Premier League at 33-years-old, perhaps the Tynesiders simply have no choice but to rid Coloccini from the starting XI sooner rather than later. Although the resilient centre-back has been an excellent servant to Newcastle since first being introduced within the English game, no spell of good form seemingly lasts forever in today’s current footballing climate.

 

Life for the former Deportivo La Coruna defender hasn’t always been this trepidations in the Premier League however. Although he started off with question marks above his head when he first emerged onto the scene at St. James’, the South American has since established himself as a reliable member of the Magpies back-line after his tough start – benefitting especially from Newcastle’s rather embarrassing drop down to the Championship in 2008/09.

 

His current role as club captain only serves to highlight just how well respected Fabricio Coloccini has become in the North East, yet it seems his past triumphs in Newcastle colours simply don’t make amends for his recent form in 2015/16.

 

As the situation currently stands, the man who cost Newcastle over £10 million back in 2008 no longer represents a player worthy of making a Premier League starting XI with every passing week. His level of performance would unfortunately be much more suited to the Championship these days – which isn’t quite as harsh a statement as it seems, for Coloccini is certainly no spring chicken in the cold light of day.

 

Perhaps such a difficult situation hasn’t entirely been of the Argentinean’s making however. Newcastle United have constantly paired their first choice centre-back with a series of questionable defensive partners throughout the years. Having to oversee the likes of Mike Williamson and co. has ultimately taken its toll on Fabricio Coloccini in 2015, transforming the once solid centre-back into a mere shadow of his former self.

 

Yes, the player must also take some level of individual blame for what has taken place at the back for Newcastle in recent seasons, but considering the fact that Mike Ashley couldn’t even be bothered to hire a recognised manager after Alan Pardew left last term, the club as a whole must also collect their fair share of the responsibility as well.

 

In the end though, the burden now somehow falls upon Fabricio Coloccini for the upcoming campaign. The Magpies hierarchy have once again tasked their club captain with guiding another potentially vulnerable defensive partner through his respective matches this term, this time in the form of Chancel Mbemba – a newly sourced Congolese centre-back who remains a mere 21-years-old with little to no experience of playing at the highest level.

 

So then, even though the 33-year-old South American would certainly benefit from a bit of bench time throughout the 2015/16 campaign, it seems Coloccini will remain in place for Newcastle this season unless Mike Ashley puts his hand in his pocket once more this summer, and finally sources an adequate replacement for his fading captain.

 

Whatever fate has in store for the increasingly inconsistent centre-back this term, it ultimately won’t serve Newcastle United very well to continuously count upon a ageing defender who just doesn’t look like he can cut it at the top anymore…

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