We’ve had a decent opportunity to judge how good the two central defense partnerships have been for Newcastle this season.
Steven Taylor – in a mask after breaking his nose earlier in the season
It’s always difficult to judge of course, but we’ve had Coloccini and Steven Taylor at the beginning of the season and Coloccini and Mike Williamson ion there for Newcastle right now.
Taylor ruptured his Achilles against Chelsea in early December, and is not expected to play again this season.
Newcastle have conceded 25 goals in the 14 games since Stephen was injured but of course Mike Williamson didn’t immediately return to the side from his ankle injury and we conceded a poor four goals at Norwich.
That’s when we didn’t have any recognized center-backs available, and Danny Simpson and James Perch did their best in that game, but it wasn’t enough.
But Steven was part of the side that conceded only 8 goals in our first 11 league games, when we were unbeaten but we did concede 8 goals in the Carling Cup ties at Scunthorpe, Nottingham Forest And Blackburn before the Chelsea game.
Maybe the best comparison is that in the games Steven played in the league this season, we conceded 15 goals in the 14 games, and since then we have conceded 23 goals in the 12 league games we’ve played.
So when Steven was in the side we averaged close to one goal a game conceded, and since he’s been out it’s been just less than two goals a game.
It would appear that Coloccini and Steven Taylor would be first choice when Steven is fit again, but we expect Newcastle to bring in a top center-back in the summer to increase the competition at the back, and we’d love to see a top full-back brought in too.
Steven talked today about the good support he is getting at Newcastle:
“The good thing for me is I’ve got a manager and a coaching staff who always get me into the dressing room and amongst the lads,” “I still feel part of it, which is a massive thing for me.”
“When you get injured you can get forgotten about but fair play to the rest of the lads, they have been spot on and worked with me every single day.” “I’m out of the boot now, back walking and back in the gym, and back to hard work.”
“It’s going to be a long, hard recovery. I know some people say it’s the worst injury you can get as a footballer, but I’m taking it in my stride. I’m relishing the chance to come back and I can’t wait to come back fitter, stronger and better than I was before.”
“I’m hoping to be involved in the start of the next pre-season.” “The manager’s very good at making me feel involved and put me in amongst everybody,” “I love meeting the fans, that’s part and parcel of me,”
“I’ve always been that way since I got into the first team.” “I relate to the fans very well and they’ve been magnificent to me.”
Alan Pardew is turning out to be a very good man-manager, and he had Steven involved fully in the four day trip to Tenerife in January, when Steven was still in the protective boot.
Pardew knows that the 26 year-old could be a very important player for Newcastle next season, but Steven has had a lot of injuries in the last two years, which started when he picked up that knee injury in January of 2010 against WBA at home, in our promotion season.
Then he had the shoulder injury picked up at Carlisle in the pre-season friendly in July, and it’s been an injury ravaged time at Newcastle since then, and he even broke his nose earlier this season, so we have to hope that Steven has much better luck starting next season.
For the record, Steven has a total of 202 appearances for Newcastle with thirteen goals.