Newcastle boss Pardew backs Coloccini

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has backed captain Fabricio Coloccini to return to his best form next season after two years in which he has struggled for fitness and top performance levels, reports the Shields Gazette.

Personal problems have fazed Coloccini since January 2013, when he announced his intention to leave the club for his native Argentina. He eventually withdrew his comments, and has now recently said that his problems are over, and that he will be on Tyneside for next season.

Coloccini has been the Newcastle captain since Kevin Nolan left in the summer of 2011, three years after joining the club under Kevin Keegan. He has gone on to make 212 appearances in those six years, and Pardew expects him to return to his best form next season.

He said: “I think that core leadership of having Colo here is important. He is our captain, and he’s had to do a tough job this year when we’ve felt down, and been a bit negative with ourselves. He’s been important. We all know if he plays like he did against Cardiff – and gets back to that level – we’ve got a top player.”

Meanwhile, the future of fellow Newcastle defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa looks somewhat more uncertain, with rumours linking him with a return to France after failing to establish himself as a first-team regular at St. James’ Park.

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