DARYL Janmaat is ready to answer Newcastle United’s defensive SOS call – even though he has NEVER played at centre-half, writes Miles Starforth.
The club is without suspended captain Fabricio Coloccini for the next three games.
Coloccini was sent off in Sunday’s dismal 3-0 defeat to Everton at Goodison Park.
The 33-year-old’s suspension has left United head coach John Carver with just ONE senior centre-half – Mike Williamson – for the next month.
And right-back Janmaat will be asked to play in central defence against Arsenal at St James’s Park on Saturday – despite having no experience of the position.
For his part, Janmaat, 25, says he doesn’t have any central reservations.
“I will play in the middle of the defence if I am asked to do so, although it is not really my position,” said Janmaat.
“It is not really as though I have ambitions to stay there, but we all know what the situation is at the moment. If I have to play there, I will.
“If the team needs me there, I am confident I can do well there, even though I have not played as a central defender in the whole of my career.
“The second half at Everton was the first time I have played there, so it is not something I know all that well.”
Coloccini was dismissed by referee Martin Atkinson for a lunge at Aaron Lennon.
“I didn’t really see the incident all that well, but the feeling in the dressing room after the game seemed to be that it was a red card,” said Janmaat.
After a bright start, Newcastle’s performance quickly unravelled.
And Janmaat admits the team got what they deserved – nothing.
“Right from the start, it was simply not good enough,” said the Holland international.
“I thought Everton deserved the win – it wasn’t about luck. We didn’t deserve anything, and we didn’t get anything.”
Carver and his players spoke at length after the match, and Janmaat insists there is a “determination” to put it right over the coming weeks.
“We spoke after the game, and there is a determination to make sure we do not repeat what happened against Everton,” said Janmaat.
“I thought we were better with 10 men than we were with 11, and that should not be the case.
“The energy was not high enough, and the performance was simply not good enough all round.
“We have to play much better in the next game to have any chance of getting a result. If we play in the same way against Arsenal, we will have no chance of doing anything.”
The Arsenal match is followed by the Wear-Tyne derby on April 5. United will also be without Coloccini for the April 13 fixture against Liverpool at Anfield.
“There are some difficult games coming up now,” said Janmaat.”
“Our squad is getting smaller because players are unavailable, so we have to make sure we are giving absolutely everything in the game.
“We don’t have too many players left now, but that is the situation and the transfer window is closed.
We have to do it with this group, and we have to stay positive. We have to try to get some better results with the players we have.”