It feels an awful long time since some of Newcastle’s more excitable fans were talking about Jack Colback as the ‘Ginger Pirlo’.
Supporters rejoicing mainly because Sunderland had lost a player for nothing as United picked up the out of contract Newcastle fan, the midfielder having been developed right through the various levels of their club.
It was all a bit baffling, as Jack Colback had never been a player who when you watched Sunderland, you ever thought ‘I wouldn’t mind him in our team’.
Some half decent adrenaline fuelled performances suggested early on that Colback could maybe do a job, if a Yohan Cabaye type quality player could be brought in alongside him. An early England call-up had the Ginger Pirlo fan club at fever pitch and frustrated mackems bizarrely moaning that surely this meant Lee Cattermole should have been a shoe-in for Roy Hodgson’s future plans.
It became quickly apparent though for surely anybody with half a brain, that Jack Colback wasn’t the answer to any of Newcastle’s problems and was only a worker bee amongts many others, with an injection of quality desperately needed, so that Colback and the rest of the Newcastle team wouldn’t end up sinking fast under the weight of overwhelming mediocrity.
It isn’t Jack Colback’s fault that Newcastle are where they are – but he is surely a part of the problem and not the solution.
The Ginger Pirlo typifies this Newcastle team, he has no pace and doesn’t score or create chances, his first thought is to go sideways or backwards and any momentum is lost.
It is no wonder that latest signings Shelvey and Townsend are seen to be looking around at their new team-mates with ever increasing frustration.
The only reliable thing that Jack Colback does give you is yellow cards, Sunday’s brought him to 10 for the season and a two game suspension. In total he has started 57 Premier League matches for Newcastle and picked up 22 bookings.
His lack of pace and ability, like many other team-mates, means that he is nailed on to regularly get into positions where a desperate challenge will bring punishment.
The whole team needs rebuilding after the recruitment of so many substandard players such as Jack Colback – we have ended up with around half a dozen central midfielders (Anita, Tiote, Saivet etc) and yet nobody good enough to give Jonjo Shelvey a hand in the middle.
Jack Colback has been talking about Sunday’s match and the fightback to draw the match, the biggest point he misses out is that it was his substitution that sparked the last half hour of positivity, as Siem de Jong added a little composure and Rafa Benitez made the surprising but successful move of dropping Moussa Sissoko to left-back in place of Colback.
Colback says that Newcastle’s ‘biggest weakness this season’ is not being able to get back into matches after going a goal down.
I think the problems go far deeper than that, especially when you see that only Aston Villa have scored less goals and conceded more than Newcastle United.
We have so many players who have nothing to offer going forward or backwards and let’s just hope that Rafa Benitez can get us across the safety line and then be given the freedom to bring in players who can perform these roles.
…and no Jack, a point at home against one of only three teams who are as bad as Newcastle is not a ‘good result’.
“Everybody knows our biggest weakness this season is going behind and struggling to get back into games – but we have done that.
“Obviously, we ae not happy with a point by any means, but when you go 1-0 down, you are satisfied at the end to get a draw – it is a massive point in the end.
“You hope to get the win but once you go 1-0 down, then to get a point is a good result in the end.
“I think it was cagey and neither side wanted to give anything away, or lose the game, knowing how important it was.
“Once we went 1-0 down we had to react and show character, we did that and managed to get the equaliser.
“Obviously, being from the area I realise how big the game is.
“It is a great game to play in – we haven’t had too much joy in it, but we will take a point.”