FABRICIO Coloccini’s commitment to Newcastle United has never been in question, according to manager Alan Pardew.
The club’s influential captain returned to training this week ahead of this evening’s home game against Liverpool.
Coloccini is not certain to be involved given that he has been out for more than two months with a back problem, despite impressing Pardew with his fitness.
The 31-year-old told Newcastle he wanted to leave in January because of what Pardew has described as a “personal issue”.
And he was allowed to return to his native Argentina to spend time with his family by United in the early part of his rehabilitation.
However, Pardew’s adamant that his “professionalism” – on and off the pitch – hasn’t been in question over the past few months.
“He’s been out seven weeks, (and his conditioning) is a real tribute to his professionalism,” Pardew said.
“Some of the rumours about him have been really way off the mark and unfair on his professionalism.
“This is a player who is desperate (to play) for this football club. I don’t care what people think has gone on.
“He had a personal issue, but every time he trains and plays for us, he’s top class.”
Coloccini and his representative will hold further talks with Newcastle over his future at the end of the season.
Argentinian club San Lorenzo, where his father Osvaldo is a youth-team coach, are keen to sign him, but they don’t have the money to buy him.
Coloccini was pictured watching the club play during his time back home.
But United won’t rip up his contract and let Coloccini – who is tied to the club until 2016 – leave on a free transfer given their substantial investment in over the past few years.
Pardew also has midfielder Cheik Tiote available for the Liverpool game.
However, the 26-year-old is not certain to return to the starting XI.
“The boost we had this week is that Cheik looks fine, and Colo is in really good shape,” added Pardew.
Meanwhile, Alan Pardew says John Carver will be his No2 as long as he’s Newcastle United manager.
There has been speculation the club could add to its backroom staff in the summer.
A wide-ranging review of this season, which has seen United under-perform domestically in the Premier League and cups, will be launched when the last ball has been kicked.
But Pardew is adamant that Carver – who also served under Sir Bobby Robson at St James’s Park – will stay as assistant manager.
“John Carver will be assistant manager as long as I’m at this football club,” Pardew said.
Asked about talk of a new coach, he added: “That was an insult to my coaching team and me.”
Pardew is also assisted by first-team coach Steve Stone and goalkeeping coach Andy Woodman.
“We haven’t discussed anything about the coaches,” added Pardew.
“That doesn’t mean to say we won’t review our situation near the end of the year so we improve on what we’ve done.”