Fabricio Coloccini set to skipper Newcastle United

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FABRICIO Coloccini is set to be handed the Newcastle United captaincy by boss Alan Pardew.

The Argentinian defender will be named as Kevin Nolan’s successor, and will wear the armband for the first pre-season game against Darlington a week today.

Coloccini has beaten off the challenge of influential midfielder Joey Barton and fellow centre-half Steven Taylor for the accolade of leading Newcastle out in the first game of the season, with the club set to officially announce his appointment later today.

It completes a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for the player, who cost £10m when he was signed from Deportivo La Coruna three years ago.

Coloccini struggled to adapt to the English game in his first season as Newcastle were relegated from the Premier League, but showed his class in the Championship in playing an influential role in United’s promotion at the first attempt, before arguably being their most consistent performer last season.

Those performances have been recognised and rewarded by Pardew, who is determined to keep the Argentina international at the club, despite talk of a move back to the Continent.

Coloccini captained Newcastle in the pre-season friendly back at his old club Deportivo last summer, and will now be tasked with uniting the changing room in the wake of Nolan’s departure to West Ham.

Despite not having a full grasp of English himself, Coloccini must help integrate the new French signings into the club, although Pardew has spoken of coaches John Carver and Steve Stone taking on more of the responsibility in this area since Nolan’s departure.

Meanwhile, reports today said that full-back Danny Simpson is on the verge of signing a new five-year contract.

The rumours that Newcastle United have made a £1.5m bid for Nottingham Forest midfielder Lewis McGugan are untrue.