How Many Newcastle Captains Do We Need?
It’s said in football that the more Captains you have on the pitch the better you are and you need five in your side to win the League, so how many Newcastle Captains can you spot?.
Newcastle have 4 or 5 most games and their experience and leadership are hallmarks of the side.
Newcastle United Club Captain. Fully fit, he is a fantastic player who brings a composure on the deck on par with any in the Premier League at the back, yet is being pushed all the way by Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa’s defensive displays at centre back alongside Mike Williamson. They kept clean sheets against Chelsea and Spurs before Coloccini’s recall to the side while the Willo-Colo partnership has conceded a goal in both the last two games. Coloccini, beset by personal troubles, has reiterated a desire to go back to Argentina yet who could blame him with The Chronicle reporting his marriage is on the line? A true professional who could Captain Argentina at The World Cup.
He was Montpellier Captain when they won the French Ligue One title in 2011/2. He enjoyed a promising start to his Newcastle career, the club winning 6 games and drawing 2 of his first 10 appearances domestically and in The Europa League before a period of struggle. A low for him was Everton away when it became apparent that he and Coloccini (he is his natural ball-playing centre-half successor when he leaves) cannot play together. Yet his best performances for the club in those clean sheets against Chelsea and Spurs prove he can mix it with the best alongside Mike Williamson, so much so that Alan Pardew said he “found it difficult to look him in the eyes” when he left him out recently.
‘Iron’ Mike Williamson
He’s the best defender in England right now bar none and Roy Hodgson would do well to have a real look at him for World Cup duty. A mature, responsible figure, Williamson’s brand of no-nonsense defending has been a major factor in the Newcastle revival and his 6ft 4in height has added true aerial presence to the back four and at set-pieces so it’s little wonder Newcastle have finally started to score from corners. He captained Newcastle early last year against Atromitos in The Europa League and was also a rock against Benfica later in the tournament. Growing by the game.
Captain Cheick injected an urgency and intensity into Newcastle’s team on his return from injury and he grew as a player when Alan Pardew gave him the armband in the absence of the injured Coloccini. He rose to the occasion, enjoying a new relationship with referees, and led by example frightening his teammates into impassioned performances against Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs unlucky to be stripped of the Captaincy on Colo’s return.
France’s ‘Little Prince’ led out Newcastle for the first time against Swansea last season and was the honorary Captain of Tyneside’s French Revolution until his attempt to defect to Arsenal at the outset of the season. (Interestingly, Joe Kinnear recently told Newcastle fans he attempted to prise Aaron Ramsey in exchange for Cabaye for any deal on the table). After apologising to Newcastle fans, Cabaye has knuckled down and put in some superb performances, scoring fabulous long-range goals against Everton and Liverpool, and generally added his midfield class to Newcastle’s game. If he stakes his future to Newcastle, he is a future Club Captain says Pardew.
Alan Pardew went on record recently to state The Mackem Slayer, whose reintroduction to his rightful place in the starting line-up has directly led to four straight Newcastle victories, could be Prime Minister of England or President of Nigeria one day. Shola brings an intelligent leadership to the team and is a huge vocal presence in the dressing room as could be seen on SKY by his speech in the pre-game huddle on Saturday and interview with Jamie Carragher after. Defending Newcastle United from the front, he is the capstone of the new Newcastle.
“Make it hard to spot the general by working like a soldier”
While the above five are the experienced leaders in the Newcastle line up, the rest of the side is made up of young men capable of growing into tomorrow’s Captains.
Tim Krul, 25, is a commanding figure and an authoritative, determined voice at the back with leadership potential for club and country.
Underneath the penchant for tattoos and daft haircuts, bad boy full backs Davide Santon, 22, who has previously Captained Italy U21s, is maturing on and off the pitch since becoming a father, and 18-times Capped France international Mathieu Debuchy, 28, has grown in responsibility this season.
Of the rest of the current team, Moussa Sissoko, 24, perhaps has the most potential for leadership into the type of on-pitch general Patrick Viera is, a player he has been likened to, Yoan Gouffran, 27, is contributing immensely to the side and Loic Remy, 26, has shouldered the goal-scoring responsibility tremendously as the spearhead of the team.
Not since the days of Kevin Nolan, Andy Carroll and Joey Barton have Newcastle had such a side full of strong characters yet. While the 2010/11 side were masters of the Dark Arts, Shola and Williamson have added two vastly experienced, intelligent heads to the black and white cause and it’s a change in mentality that’s paying rich dividends.
You can follow Stuart on Twitter @ultrastartime
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]