Belfast Telegraph

Monday 15 September 2014

Pardew confident Coloccini can prosper

Fabricio Coloccini, pictured, has been backed to deliver at Newcastle by manager Alan Pardew

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is convinced skipper Fabricio Coloccini will demonstrate his continuing commitment to the club on the pitch.

The 31-year-old Argentina international rocked the Magpies earlier this month by informing them that he wanted to return home because of personal problems. However, the club held firm, scuppering his hopes of winning a move to San Lorenzo before persuading the central defender to stay until the end of the current season at least.

Pardew said: "Sometimes you draw a line in the sand and I think we have done that. He has had to do that, we have had to do that and say 'Now come on, let's focus on what's important here and that's Newcastle', and as a professional, I think he will do that. Really it's his performances that will reflect that and he is conscious of that."

Pardew insisted the sentiment of an open letter from the player to the South American club, which was made public over the weekend, had been lost in translation and he is confident that Coloccini will once again give his all for Newcastle, starting in Tuesday night's key clash with fellow strugglers Aston Villa.

Pardew added: "He wants to show how committed he is, not by words because there have been a lot of words said. Sometimes, it's about performance."

Coloccini is one of the handful of players at the club who remember a recent trip to Villa Park only too well. Coloccini, goalkeepers Tim Krul and Steve Harper, defender Steven Taylor, midfielder Jonas Gutierrez and striker Shola Ameobi were among the 18 on the final day of the 2008-09 season when a 1-0 defeat at Villa condemned them to relegation.

That, of course, was long before Pardew's arrival, but the Magpies boss said: "That has been mentioned in previous visits to Villa. Obviously, I wasn't party to that, but it would be a sad day for any football club and we will make sure that that is focussed on too."

The squad which emerges from the away dressing room this time around will be very different with four of the club's five January signings - Mathieu Debuchy, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Moussa Sissoko and Yoan Gouffran likely to be involved.

Indeed, France international Sissoko will start with Pardew confident he can make a significant impact as Newcastle attempt to dig themselves out of a hole. He said: "Of all the signings, Sissoko was probably the most important for myself because I think he's a player who is adapted for the Premier League.

"His strength and his ability will automatically gain him the assurance he needs to play at this level and we needed a player like that. I thought we were missing power and pace in the side and I make no bones about it, he will definitely play at Villa."

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