Welcome to a brand new NUFC Hotspot series, ‘Player Preference’! Throughout this series, we will be taking a look at similar NUFC players, being either current, or past, and comparing them to find our preferred option. We thought the best way to kick off the series would be to look at our current, and previous Newcastle United captain.
Firstly, we will take a look at each of the players individually, dissecting their time in black and white by statistics, overall contributions and memorable moments they have provided us with. We will then compare them side by side and find out who comes out on top!
Coloccini was bought in from Deportivo back in 2008 for a fee of around £10 million. From the first game he played in, a 1-1 draw away at Manchester United, the Argentinian quickly became one of the most reliable defenders at the club.
Although he could not save the club from relegation, he stayed with us during our year in the Championship and was an integral part of our instant return to the Premier League.
Since returning to the Premier League, Coloccini racked up an impressive 211 appearances, picking up 51 clean sheets.
There were some low points in the defenders Newcastle career, which mirrored that of Newcastle’s fortunes as a club. He often came under scrutiny for lacking leadership qualities, as our team would often crumble after going behind, resulting in some embarrassing scorelines. The Argentinian was also on the end of a very unfortunate sending off which cost us on derby day. The decision was then rightfully overtuned.
On the other hand, Coloccini was also the love of our life, he made us want curly hair too!
In a time when Newcastle were shipping away goals left, right, and center, Coloccini added a sense of stability to our backline during his time on Tyneside. He was calm on the ball, and did appear to give everything for the club. It is sometimes forgotten just how good the defender was during the 2011/12 season, as he helped Newcastle to a 5th placed finish and earnt an inclusion in the PFA Team of the Year.
Our current captain Jamaal Lascelles was bought in from Nottingham Forest in 2014. It took some time for the young Englishman to establish himself in the Newcastle lineup, but once Rafa Benitez was brought to the club, the young defender developed immensely.
A big turning point in Lascelles’ career was the teams awful performance away at Southampton. The defender who had, until then, been mainly a squad player, was eager to voice his opinions and question his teammates apparent lack of commitment. Benitez liked this approach and viewed the defender as a potential captain of Newcastle United. Following the departure of Coloccini, Lascelles was permanently awarded the armband.
Again, Lascelles was part of the Newcastle team which slipped down into the Championship, but this disappointment provided a huge opportunity for the defender to rack up gametime for the club. In doing so he captained the club to a 1st placed finish and earned a position in the PFA 2016-17 Championship team of the Year.
Since returning to the Premier League, Lascelles has racked up 102 appearances, scoring 6 goals, and earning 28 clean sheets.
The defender has received criticism for his rash style of play, sometimes being too eager to attempt a tackle. In comparison to our recent recruits; Lejeune, and Schar, Lascelles does not possess the same confidence and ability on the ball.
There are a large number of positives when looking into Lascelles. Firstly, at such a young age the leadership qualities he has shown has been a wave of fresh air on Tyneside. Not having doubts about voicing his opinion, the brutally honest behaviour is a key requirement of any good captain. The defensive side of his game has also being massively aided by one of the worlds best coaches, Rafa Benitez, transforming him into an impressive and reliable Premier League defender.
This series has started with a very difficult decision. In a debate for the preferred player, I believe a case can be made for either player, however a decision has to be made!
Out of the two, our preferred player is Fabricio Coloccini.
The main reason for this decision is the all round ability of the Argentinian’s game. His time at Newcastle was not overlooked by the best managers, with Alan Pardew and Steve McClaren not the ideal candidates to build a solid defensive system. In the circumstances, Coloccini excelled during his time in the North East, and is still held in high regard by Newcastle fans.
His transfer back to San Lorenzo was the result of personal circumstances, which cannot be criticised. Even after wanting to return home, he continued to perform impressively for the club and therefore earns the place of being our first preferred player. Who knows how good he could have been under a manager of Rafa Benitez’s calibre!
Do you think we made the right decision here?
Subscribe for the very best NUFC Hotspot round-ups delivered straight to your inbox!