Jack Colback has admitted that he didn’t expect to be involved with Newcastle United this season after being told to find a new club by Rafael Benitez last year.
The midfielder looks set to be given a chance by new manager Steve Bruce after starting in the Magpies victory over West Ham in the Premier League Asia Trophy on Saturday.
“Now maybe I’ve got half a chance back here, so we’ll see what happens,” Colback told the Shields Gazette. “I’m realistic. I’m still not thinking I’m going to nail down a position, but I’m going to give it a go. If I can impress the new manager, then great. If not, you’ll see what’s out there. It gives me a chance if nothing else.”
The 29-year-old was a mainstay during his loan spell at Nottingham Forest last season, making 38 appearances, missing the rest due to suspension. That was the midfielder’s second loan spell at the City Ground, after being told to train with the Magpies’ under-23’s squad beforehand.
Realistically, Colback should be nowhere near this Newcastle squad. Times are difficult at St James’ Park, and desperate times call for desperate measures. The 29-year-old certainly stands a chance with Bruce though, who also looks like to reintegrate Achraf Lazaar into the first-team setup. With less than a month to go in the transfer window, Newcastle fans will be desperate to see their side bring in reinforcements, and in midfield especially after this news. During his time at Forest, Colback all but proved he is a Championship player at best, with his strength being to sit in front of an average back-four and make tackles, something that most midfield players could do in the football league. Colback averaged 3.2 tackles per game according to WhoScored, but also picked up 15 yellow cards and averaged two fouls per outing. His frequent bookings prove that despite averaging a lot of tackles, the midfielder is also beaten quite easily and forced into making fouls, something that can be punished a lot more often in the Premier League. Bruce must be careful and take the advice of Benitez, a man who told Colback to move on not too long ago.