Fabricio Coloccini could be stripped of the Newcastle United captaincy for the final three games of the season after being involved in a bust-up with goalkeeper Tim Krul following the humiliating defeat by Leicester City.
ohn Carver has vowed to carry on as Newcastle head coach and is due to report for work as normal this morning following a series of meetings on Sunday, when it is understood that Steve McClaren was sounded out over taking charge immediately.
While he is still in charge, Carver must try to arrest a run of eight consecutive defeats and one of his first tasks will be to decide whether or not Coloccini keeps the armband.
It is understood that Coloccini and Krul were involved in a heated row on the bus that took Newcastle from Leicester City’s King Power Stadium to the airport for their flight back to the North East.
Krul was furious with the defending and lack of leadership from Coloccini, who was described as an “absolute disgrace” by the former Manchester United and Everton defender Phil Neville on Match of the Day.
There is a feeling within the Newcastle staff that the team would benefit from a change of captaincy for the last three games – against West Bromwich Albion, Queens Park Rangers and West Ham United – in which they desperately need to secure at least one victory. Should Coloccini be stripped of the captaincy, then the midfielder Jack Colback would be among the favourites to take over as captain along with Krul.
Carver was not involved in the bust‑up between Coloccini and Krul on the bus and decided to keep his thoughts to himself until he addresses the players again on Monday.
Newcastle are two points above the relegation zone following their latest embarrassing defeat, but Carver will not quit and has received sympathy from board members over the performances and attitude of his some of his players.
Carver has had a series of angry clashes with first-team players in recent weeks and is seething about the lack of effort in games from certain troublesome individuals. But performances have not improved and there is a real danger that Newcastle could tumble out of the top flight.
A furious Carver even accused the centre-back Mike Williamson of deliberately getting sent off against Leicester, a charge that could easily have been thrown at Daryl Janmaat, who was also dismissed needlessly late in the game.
Williamson released a statement in which he denied he had deliberately got himself sent off. He also apologised to the club’s supporters and his team-mates, but not Carver. “I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to the Newcastle United supporters and my fellow team-mates for getting sent off during yesterday’s game,” Williamson said.
“There was absolutely no intent to hurt Jamie [Vardy] or get sent off, but I recognise that I should have been more composed and measured in my determination to win the ball. Unfortunately, it did the one thing that I never wanted to do, and that was to hurt the team. Moving forward, I will do whatever I can to help my team-mates prepare for the next two games and fight to get back into the team when I’m next available.”
McClaren is reluctant to take charge of a Newcastle team in a relegation battle. The former England manager is due to meet his Derby County employers and will not leave before those talks have taken place.
Speaking on Saturday after the 3-0 home defeat by Reading that cost Derby a play-off place, McClaren said: “Absolutely nothing has been agreed [with Newcastle]. I’m under contract here unless they say otherwise.”
Carver is desperate to keep Newcastle up, but would also be prepared to work with McClaren if a change is made. “I’m not going anywhere until someone comes to me and tells me otherwise,” Carver said. “I’m not a shirker, and I’m not going to hide from anyone. I’m going to stand there and take it, because I have to. I have to admit there’s a chance they’re just not listening to me.
“That might be one factor of many, and you have to consider it. You have to take it into account. But it might be a lot of other things – we might not be good enough, we might not have enough desire to want to defend in the box or score at the other end. There’s lot of factors, but I won’t deny that [the players not listening] could be one of them. All I will say is that the responses I’ve seen on the training ground don’t suggest that.