After the 2-1 friendly win over Lillestrom in which Jonjo Shelvey was given the captaincy, a number of media outlets are reporting that Fabricio Coloccini has been stripped of the captain's armband in favour of the young Englishman.
The general consensus about Coloccini as our captain is one of zero confidence, and rightly so. Since being awarded the role in 2011, other than a handful of inspired performances, Coloccini has been truly woeful.
Week in, week out his weaknesses are exposed, repeatedly being saved this season by Chancel Mbemba, which shouldn’t be the case for someone who has over seven years of Premier League experience.
Even if you aren’t blessed with pace, there’s no excuse for being a mute on the pitch, but unfortunately this is the case for Coloccini, meaning youngsters such as Mbemba and Lacelles can often seem lost due to a severe lack of guidance both on and off the pitch.
Even John Carver, one of the worst Premier League managers in history who, unfortunately for us, has had first-hand exposure to the Newcastle squad for a number of years, has come out and said that he should be nowhere near the armband.
As a Premier League captain you have to either lead by example or be a more vocal and “in your face” type of player, but unfortunately for the Newcastle faithful, these are attributes that Coloccini simply doesn’t possess, adding to the long list of reasons behind a change in the captaincy.
However, while we are all able to see that Coloccini is beginning to drift off the margin as a worthy Premier League player, never mind a captain, the worry lies in whether a change at such a vital time could have a negative effect in the dressing room.
These potentially damaging effects would not come as a result of losing the armband, but more likely due to a January signing being awarded it, with players such as Daryl Janmaat and maybe even Georginjo Wijnaldum maybe feeling as if they should be ahead in the pecking order.
However, Shelvey seems to have fit well right into the squad so far, leading by example on a number of occasions and willing to say it how it is in his interviews. Furthermore, McClaren has implied that he’s already beginning to build strong relationships with members of the team and, at the end of the day, if he is to be awarded the captaincy it’s hard to imagine the outcome wouldn’t be a positive one.
To reinforce this, as a centre-back it is difficult for Coloccini to have a brief word with one of the forwards if necessary. In the centre of the park, however, Shelvey is in a much more influential position, and if something has to be said, you can rely on Jonjo to pull someone aside and tell them what needs to be told.
Of course there are strong cases in favour of alternatives, especially the likes of Wijnaldum and Janmaat. However, if there was to be a change of captain, I think the the fans and more importantly the squad would be more than happy with any of the three alternative candidates.
Unfortunately though, knowing the club as we do, a change of captain is far from likely to come to fruition. McClaren has failed to shown any sign of authority in his tenure as manager so far, at least in the public eye. I find it hard to imagine McClaren having the bottle to make any change of this magnitude and importance at such a crucial period of the season.
I guess we will have to wait and see…