Newcastle United’s Coloccini’s having a Fab time

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FABRICIO Coloccini is enjoying life at Newcastle United more than ever - thanks to the new brand of football on show at St James’s Park.

Coloccini was handed the captain’s armband in the wake of Kevin Nolan’s departure.

And the defender, outstanding so far this season, has led the club to a remarkable fourth place in the Premier League with six games played.

Newcastle played some of their best football of the season yet against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, when Demba Ba opened his United account with a memorable hat-trick.

The game also saw Hatem Ben Arfa make his first appearance at St James’s Park in almost a year, and the forward’s return from a year on the sidelines further lifted the mood on Tyneside.

Before a ball was kicked manager Alan Pardew said he was looking to see a more attacking brand of football played by his team this season.

Up to the Blackburn game, Newcastle’s defensive qualities had been most evident, but against Steve Kean’s side, the team’s forward play caught the eye.

Coloccini is now starting many of United’s attacks by bringing the ball out of defence, and the 29-year-old is backing the shift in footballing philosophy, which has been aided by a summer injection of pace into Newcastle’s team.

“I’m really enjoying this season – more than other years,” Coloccini said.

“There have been a lot of changes, and we’re playing more football than in other years. On the pitch, we’re enjoying it more.”

As well as Nolan, influential pair Joey Barton and Jose Enrique also left the club this summer, but Coloccini feels there’s more than enough character in the dressing room.

And he’s heartened by the attitude of the club’s summer recruits.

Coloccini went on: “We have a good changing room, a good squad and good men.

“I think when you build a team, you have to build it with good men, and I think here there are a lot of good players, and more importantly good men.”