What a tough, nerve-racking week we’re in the midst of.

I’m currently at the beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama celebrating my college graduation. I was able to watch the game on the porch of my condominium, looking out onto the ocean.

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It was a gorgeous view…until the game started of course. The first half was bearable, but goodness, what an atrocious second half. It’s been far too often this season that Newcastle performances have been a tale of two halves. The inability to perform consistently throughout an entire game might be the main factor in this team’s dreadful season.

One positive that I’ve taken from this week is the rumour that Jack Colback is back on the English national team’s radar. I hope this is true.

Jack Colback is my favourite player in the Newcastle squad. He consistently shows the attitude and work ethic on the field that I really find endearing. The guy’s emotions tend to reflect the team’s results; when we win, he shows such joy and pride. When we lose, he is visibly distraught. This is important when you’re wearing a Newcastle jersey.

When the news broke that Colback was being scouted again for the English national team, I noticed a few articles criticising Colback and advocating that his quality isn’t deserving of a national team call-up. This prompted to me to write this article, with the intention of addressing this question:

How fair is it to judge a player when he plays for a bad team?

Football is a very unique game. Living in the United States, there are so many sports. And I love every one of them. Football, baseball, basketball, American football; you name it, I have a team. Baseball, basketball, and American football all have a variety of statistics that help quantify a player’s effectiveness. The sheer multitude of statistics available actually can actually border on ridiculous. Football is different.

While there are stats available for football, the only way to really evaluate a player (outside of goals and assists) is to just watch them. Observe their movement, positioning, decision making, and skill. That’s really the only accurate way to break down a player.

But football is also such a team sport; so much depends on the players surrounding you. For example, if Player A sees open space that would be ideal for a pass to Player B, the success of that pass isn’t only up to him. Player B also has to have the awareness and make the run. This is just one, specific example, but it illustrates my point that some players can look a lot less capable than they are because of their surrounding team.

Especially a player like Colback. He isn’t extremely athletic or particularly skilled. His skill set isn’t the dynamic type that can enable him to take over a match and win it all by his lonesome. But his presence is steady and efficient.

jack colback

Colback is a solid passer who also possesses the diligence and determination to get back on defense and position himself correctly. He has also scored a few goals this season, which is new for him and will hopefully continue. These traits have made Colback, in my opinion, the most consistent and best player on the Newcastle team this year.

I also think that surrounding this guy with better talent might unlock some of his greater potential. With better, smarter players around him, Colback could really start to shine as a rock in the midfield.

For these reasons, I think Colback is worthy of consideration for England’s squad. His performances certainly don’t qualify him for a starting slot, or maybe even a spot on the bench. However, a national team scout needs to look at a multitude of players to appropriately fulfill his job description.

I don’t think it’s absurd that Colback is within this range of players being scouted, and I hope he is deemed worthy of an international friendly appearance or two. Who knows, there have been countless players who have unexpectedly shone in an international game which has subsequently jumpstarted his club career. Colback could really benefit from a call-up to his country’s team.

In the meantime, I hope he can step up and help the Magpies get a win.

I know all Newcastle fans want to avoid relegation as much as I do, but I’m pretty positive I won’t be able to view The Championship league games on this side of the Atlantic Ocean.

Just to be safe, everyone passionately cheer for Manchester United this weekend!

  • Hughie

    Colback is an excellent hardworking box to box midfielder. If we had him and Cabaye we would have one helluvan engine room. Unfortunately we have one paced Ryan Taylor and lazy Sissoko instead. The latter in particular is a major reason we ship so many goals because he repeatedly fails to track back.

  • cwtoon88

    If Colback was French or Dutch he would get dogs abuse, the lad is bang average at best and his best games at St James Park have been in a Sunderland Shirt.

    I would suggest you get over to the UK and watch the game live and not on a labtop screen and you can take your bingo card and pick up the following Mackem Jack classics:

    1) Make a late burst on the left side of the box, have loads of time and still hit the first man
    2) Play an easy pass and then run and stand in front of an opposition  player so he cant get a return pass
    3) Goes tearing down the field after a hopeless ball and is then caught out of position ( this seems to get a lot of support from some fans)
    4) Stand in front of the back 4 with his hands on his hips while we are outnumbered going forward ( and Sissoko gets the criticism because he has no options and tries to do it himself)
    5) Take Corner after Corner and either play it slow and high for an easy claim or whip it low to the first man
    6)Colback runs back but doesnt actually follow his man ( Jonas and Gouff are also chiefs exponents of this) fans see him running back and don’t criticise though. He is also bad for running back but away from the trouble meaning he gets a great view of what we have just conceded
    7) get pushed off the ball a couple of times and then give up ( SOL against Connor Wickham is a prime example of doing this)
    8)Dive into a challenge where possession could be retained to get people to cheer for him as because jumping in means you work hard doesn’t it

    If Colback is to be considered why isn’t Craig Gardner?, both headless chickens who tear about, at least Gardner has a good shot on him. As for a box to Box midfielder don’t make me laugh he can do a job sitting deep but he is poor on the ball and really doesn’t want possession a poor mans Tiote if you would.

    He isnt our biggest problem ( that honour goes to another who’s local status gives him a big shield) but when you lookat how bad Sunderland were last year and how bad we were this year with Colback being a key player for both he has some influence. If we want anything more than scraping by we cant have a player as poor as Mackem Jack playing every week

  • cwtoon88

    Hughie Howay Sissoko is the reason we concede? The player playing in the number 10 role most of the time is causing our defensive problems? I think you need to look closer at your ginger hero mackem Jack

  • Mal44

    ‘Taking corner after corner……’.
    Are you sure you’re talking about Colback?

  • mentalman

    There’s too much expected of colback and sissoko they can’t do everything in midfield the problem is they play in a 2 or 3 mam midfield with another man namely Taylor missing for most of the game, if we had the likes of abeid playing in midfield they could concentrate on what they should be doing and not trying to do everything

  • cwtoon88

    Mal44 Yep he took the majority earlier in the season and has since been taken over by sammy and raylor who’s quality is just as bad

  • Mal44

    You’re right. Forgot about that. Trying to erase the season from my memory.