Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Pardew takes his time

Alan Pardew
Alan Pardew

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew will bide his time as he prepares to appoint a new captain and hand over the famous number nine shirt.

The £4million departure of Kevin Nolan to West Ham has not only deprived Pardew of last season's top scorer, but his skipper and a major influence in the dressing room, while the £35million sale of Andy Carroll to Liverpool in January left the short worn in the past by the likes of Jackie Milburn, Malcolm Macdonald and Alan Shearer vacant.

Pardew told the club's official website, www.nufc.co.uk: "I have ideas, but I will probably pick it with a week to go. We will see how pre-season unfolds and see how the squad assembles itself, how it looks and what shape it is in."

He added: "I will then take a view from there because it is an important role, and possibly a few players could wear the armband during the pre-season friendlies."

Goalkeeper Steve Harper has led the side in the past, although the 36-year-old could face a fight with Tim Krul for his place, while Joey Barton's future on Tyneside remains in doubt as he enters the final year of his contract.

Fabricio Coloccini and Cheick Tiote have been touted as possible replacements for Nolan, and Pardew knows he has a big decision to make.

The identity of the man who wears the number nine shirt is perhaps not so important - it remained unused following Shearer's retirement until Obafemi Martins took it, and unoccupied again after the Nigerian's departure until it was handed to Carroll.

However, Pardew said: "The number nine shirt is equally important. I will leave the number nine as late as I can.

"I know just what that shirt means to this football club, but there will be a few contenders who could wear that shirt and do it justice.

"It is an important shirt and I might think of giving it to a player who doesn't get weighed down by it. I will have to assess the characters of the players to make sure that doesn't happen."

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