Colback call-up good for Newcastle – and Sunderland – says Pardew

AVAILABLE ... Jack Colback.
AVAILABLE ... Jack Colback.
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ALAN Pardew says Jack Colback’s England call-up is good news for Newcastle United – and his former club Sunderland.

Colback was today called up by Roy Hodgson for the Euro 2016 qualifier against Switzerland and a friendly against Norway.

The midfielder – who will return to Newcastle’s starting XI against Crystal Palace at St James’s Park tomorrow – crossed the Tyne-Wear divide this summer.

And Magpie manager Pardew feels international recognition for Killingworth-born Colback reflects well on North East football.

However, Pardew also feels the way the 24-year-old has handled his move across has “ticked a couple of boxes” for Hodgson, who saw Colback play for Newcastle against Aston Villa in last weekend’s goalless draw.

“It’s great for North East football, because he did a lot of this call-up at Sunderland,” said Pardew.

“I think he’s ticked a couple of boxes here though that are important for an England manager.

“One, he has moved to a local rivals, and he has handled it well. And then he has come into our team and played well, and that has ticked another box for the England manager.

“I think the move has had a part to play, but you have to put this all at Jack’s door, he has been terrific.

“I think he could play a number of potential roles for England. For him, it is a great boost and it is for us too.”

Asked about suggestions he would not have been called up had he stayed at Sunderland, Pardew added: “I don’t think there is any truth in that. I think that it is just natural banter between the two clubs.”

Pardew told Colback when he signed that he saw a future for him at international level.

“I said when he signed ‘I think you can play for England – I think that should be your goal’.

“I didn’t think it would come this quick, to be honest, and I didn’t even think it was coming.

“We got a call about whether he was fit, and I kind of marked his card (by telling him) ‘they must be keeping an eye on you because they’ve asked about your fitness, so that is good, maybe the next squad’.

“And, lo and behold, 30 minutes later, he was in. But I can understand England and the way the media is at the moment, wanting to keep things pretty tight.

“But it was a nice surprise, for me, him, the club, and for Sunderland, actually.”

Pardew says unassuming Colback was not thinking about England honours when he joined United on a free transfer.

“He’s not a super-confident guy that would say ‘yeah, I’ll play for England’,” said Pardew.

“We’ve got a couple of young players who will do that and they’ve got no chance!

“But he’s the complete opposite to that, very conservative in his approach, but he doesn’t play like that, of course.

“He actually plays with a real openness to him, and a real kind of ‘let’s get on the front foot and win games’.

“I said when I signed him, the thing that I thought was missing – a big part of what was missing last year – was that ability to dig a result out after conceding the first goal.

“There were times last year when we conceded the first goal when we were in the game and couldn’t get back in it.

“I think Jack is great for that. He has that winning ambition.”