JOHN Carver says Jonas Gutierrez could yet earn a new deal at Newcastle United.
Gutierrez is one of a clutch of players, including Ryan Taylor, whose contracts expire in the summer, but head coach Carver says no decisions have been made on their futures.
Everybody’s playing for their future. There have been no discussions (about contracts). The discussions have been about the need to bring in playersJohn Carver
Gutierrez made his first start since beating cancer in last weekend’s Wear-Tyne derby.
And the 31-year-old – who hopes to start again at Liverpool on Monday night – was one of the few players to emerge with any credit from the Tynesiders’ fifth successive defeat to Sunderland.
Gutierrez has a clause in the deal he signed four years ago entitling him to a new contract – but he would need to make seven more starts, not substitute appearances, to activate it.
Newcastle have just seven games left this season – and Gutierrez will NOT start every one of them.
For his part, Carver has an open mind about the out-of-contract players.
“Everybody’s playing for their future,” he said. “There have been no discussions (about contracts).
“The discussions have been about the need to bring in players – we know that.
“I haven’t gone into any discussions with regard to this group of players, because we have seven games left.”
Carver, the Magpies’ head coach until the end of the campaign, says his focus has been on the team – and NOT off-the-field matters.
The 50-year-old, however, has had a conversation with managing director Lee Charnley about forward Haris Vuckic, who is on loan at Rangers and this week said he was open about a permanent move to Ibrox.
Asked about the clause in Gutierrez’s deal, Carver said: “I’ve got to be honest, I genuinely don’t know about anybody’s contracts.
“There’s the Haris Vuckic situation. I had to ask Lee the question, as I genuinely don’t know about his contract.
“All I’ve been doing is working on the team and trying to put the best 11 players on the pitch that I can.
“I’m unaware of it (the clause), but I will be picking the team between now and the end of the season with that not in my mind, because I don’t know what people earn and what their contracts are.
“I pick a team on what I think will be the best team on the pitch. Sometimes you can get distracted.
“I don’t know anybody’s salaries – nothing.
“I like it that way as I make my judgement on the week at the training ground.”
Gutierrez was given the all-clear after treatment for testicular cancer in his native Argentina late last year, and Carver feels his return to the field is an inspirational story.
He said: “I don’t think he ever thought he’d be playing as soon as he has done. I don’t even think he thought he’d play again when you have an illness like Jonas had.
“It must have been a proud moment for him, and for us as well it was great to see him back on.”
Carver singled out Gutierrez and four other players after the club’s derby defeat saying they were “void” of any criticism, and, tellingly, captain Moussa Sissoko was not one of them.
However, he refused to talk about the contributions made by individuals, including Gutierrez, ahead of the Liverpool game.
“I’ve already touched on it, and I don’t really want to go back on it,” said Carver.
“I don’t want to talk about individuals from a game like that, if I’m being totally honest.
“What I will say is the fact that he (Gutierrez) has come back from what he’s come back from is outstanding.
“Everybody’s delighted with how he’s come back in and how he’s progressed. He’s fought and worked hard and done all the right things.
“When it comes to the (derby) game, I’ve got my own thoughts on it, and I’m keeping my thoughts, for the moment, to myself.
“I don’t want to highlight Jonas in this instance.”