Premier League - Coloccini a calming influence - Pardew

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is hoping captain Fabricio Coloccini will continue to be his defensive rock for years to come.

PA Sport
Premier League - Coloccini content at Newcastle
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Fabricio Coloccini (Reuters)

The 31-year-old Argentina international looked to be on his way out of St James' Park after announcing his intention to return to South America because of personal problems during the January transfer window just 10 months after signing a four-year contract extension.

That came as a huge blow to Pardew, who had built his rearguard around the former Deportivo La Coruna stopper, and after the Magpies refused to sanction a proposed move to San Lorenzo, he had to engage in a delicate process of diplomacy to persuade Coloccini to stay.

Eight months on, the player is demonstrating exactly why his manager was so keen to keep him, and the 52-year-old is hoping he can hang on to him for a significantly longer period of time.

Asked how central Coloccini is to his plans, Pardew said: "I don't know how to put that into words, really. He is very, very important, a very steady, calming influence.

"Last year when he wasn't playing, there was something missing from the team.

"That's why it's so important that he stayed - and hopefully he will stay for a lot longer than this year as well."

Coloccini endured a difficult start to his career on Tyneside after making a £10.3million switch from Depor in August 2008, but was one of the men who, having taken the club out of the Premier League at the end of that campaign, remained on board to help ensure their immediate return.

He was a key figure too in the Magpies' surge into fifth place in the Premier League just three seasons after relegation when a settled back four laid the foundation for success.

Things have changed markedly since then, however, and now Coloccini is attempting to knit together a new unit in front of goalkeeper Tim Krul with January signings Mathieu Debuchy and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, as well as Italian left-back Davide Santon, still finding their feet together.

Former Lille right-back Debuchy was thrust straight into the fight for Premier League survival following his B£5.5million arrival in January, and Pardew is expecting to see the France international at his best as the current campaign, which continues at Everton on Monday night, unfolds.

He said: "We have got a new back four this year because Mapou has played all year, and Colo, Mathieu and Davide.

"That's been our back four, with Tim, quite settled, thank goodness and long may that continue.

"We have Steven (Taylor)and Willo (Mike Williamson) in the background, so we have got good options there.

"I think Mathieu will certainly improve as this year goes on, there's no doubt about that."

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