While we are all talking about Moussa Sissoko, Ayoze Perez and Remy Cabella, young Jack Colback has gone under the radar, despite scoring again on Sunday.
Squawka, the stats site, calls Colback the best player we have in the team, beating his closest rival by 138 points, and for good reason.
He may have only scored three goals this season for his boyhood club, but it is his efforts out of the limelight that makes him possibly the best midfielder we have at the moment.
(Apologies to the author, we received the article before the Palace match but have only found a slot for it now, so these stats don’t include last night’s game at Selhurst Park)
His pass accuracy is a massive 89%. He has completed 819 passes in his 23 appearances this term, with only 100 balls going astray. With these stats, he averages over 35 successful passes each time he plays. Compare that with Sissoko who has only found teammates on 688 occasions.
Colback has also created 32 chances for his teammates, with four of those being converted into goals, giving him the nickname of the ‘Ginger Pirlo’. A feat only bettered by Remy Cabella, while Cheick Tiote and Vurnon Anita have created 11 chances between them.
However, defensively, the youngster has a lot of areas in which he needs to improve.
When going head to head with the opposition, Colback only makes it out with the ball 47% of the time. Far from perfect, but still better than Sissoko (40%), Tiote (41%) and even Daryl Janmaat (46%).
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He has also made four defensive errors. More than any other player in the Newcastle squad. More than Janmaat, Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson combined. Four errors is double than the next worse, Paul Dummett with two.
But, at just 25 years of age, he is nowhere near his prime and has plenty of time to improve. With rumours of Moussa Sissoko leaving in the summer, it will have to be time for him to step up, and probably take the captain’s armband when Coloccini leaves or retires.
Surely Jack Colback is our future, but with Mike Ashley, he will be gone by next summer.