FABRICIO Coloccini’s set to walk back into Newcastle United’s starting XI at White Hart Lane – after Alan Pardew admitted his captain could walk into any Premier League side.
Coloccini returned to training this week after missing four games with a groin problem.
And the defender is available to face Tottenham Hotspur tomorrow.
For the most part, Mapou-Yanga-Mbiwa and Mike Williamson have been paired in central defence in Coloccini’s absence, though 22-year-old Paul Dummett has also featured.
They helped Newcastle keep a clean sheet in last weekend’s 2-0 win over Chelsea. However, United manager Pardew is minded to press the 31-year-old back into action.
“It’s a tough decision,” Pardew said.
“The most important thing is we pay tribute to the boys since he’s been out.
“It’s the first time, really, we’ve coped well with it.
“I thought they were terrific against Man City (in the club’s 2-0 Capital One Cup defeat).
“And they followed that up with the Chelsea performance. They’re two top teams.
“You have to say they’ve done great.”
Coloccini, now in his sixth season at Newcastle, is one of the most accomplished defenders in the Premier League, in Pardew’s view.
And Pardew – who feared he would lose Coloccini last season after he made it know he was keen to return to his native Argentina – is just glad he is still at Newcastle.
Pardew said: “Colo’s been a brilliant player for this football club – one of the players we’ve got that could go into the top teams.
“It’s very important that he’s back. He’s in good shape. That’s a boost for us, for sure.”
Coloccini’s defensive colleague Steven Taylor, sidelined with a hamstring problem, could be available for Norwich City’s visit to St James’s Park on November 23.
“He should be OK after the international break,” said Pardew.
Massadio Haidara has made a quick recovery from the hamstring problem he suffered against City on what was his comeback from long-term injury.
And Dummett – who limped out of the same game with a hamstring injury – could be back for Norwich.
“The good news is that Sadio’s fit, and Dummett will be fit for Norwich, as well,” added Pardew.