Fabricio Coloccini – Don’t Wish Him Away
I’m getting a bit tired of the ‘we conceded a goal, need a whole new defence’ that I heard the second half of last season and especially after the Malaga game in Germany at the weekend.
I can vouch from experience that defending, in the same way that attacking is, is something that 11 men do.
As a centre-half you are asked to set where the team plays, so you decide when to push up, allowing your attacking players nearer the opposition goal. You decide to drop in, don’t want to look stupid like an England defender with a simple ball over the top.
The brains of our defence, and mostly the team, is Colo. Stop having a go at him. He is not the quickest centre-half at the club, he is not the tallest centre-half at the club, but is without doubt the best centre-half at the club and the brains in our team.
We may occasionally defend well without him, but this is usually in a backs to the wall defending that suits Willo and Taylor, who are not the most technically gifted.
His ability to shape and position the team is as good as it gets and that’s why Ashley pays him and Pardew picks him.
I actually feel sorry for Colo at times, he deserves better than to play with those learning their trade, such as Santon or those who pass on responsibility to him to set the position of the team, like Taylor or Willo.
I’m not going to have a go at these lads as they are honest pros; Taylor has been unlucky with injuries and Willo has applied himself brilliantly in recent seasons – look at his body shape, he’s been working very hard. Mapou and Santon still learning their trade in the premier league.
But they are not, nor ever likely to be, as technically gifted or as positionally aware as Colo.
You cannot coach his ability to read the game and be in the right place at the right time, that comes naturally with experience.
It would be great for the Toon to sign an experienced defender that could support Colo, but that would mean spending money on experienced players, who have little future market value.
Debuchy sold- 29.
People will say that he (Coloccini) is not the same player of a few years ago. I would disagree and say that if he had a Demba Ba powering into the opposition at the other end – taking the weight off the defence, and the intelligence of a Cabaye in front of him helping him control the shape of the team, we might see a different player.
I can’t ignore the mistakes made by Colo last season, or by Pardew in making the poor sod defend for 80 minutes solid each game. Just don’t wish him away, he’s the best we’ve had in a long time and when he does go, that’s when we really need to worry.
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