FABRICIO Coloccini has dedicated his place in the Premier League’s team of the year to his Newcastle United colleagues.
The club’s captain was honoured by his fellow players in the Professional Footballers’ Association’s awards night on Sunday.
Coloccini, pictured, was named in the PFA’s team of the year in recognition for his outstanding contribution to Newcastle’s season, which could end with qualifcation for the Champions League.
However, the defender has shrugged off the praise, which he believes should go to Alan Pardew’s entire squad.
“I wouldn’t be in the team if we were doing badly,” Coloccini said. “It’s not a personal award, it’s for all the team as well.”
Coloccini – named the North East Football Writers’ player of the year for 2011 – led Newcastle to a 3-0 win over Stoke City on Saturday. The result moved the club above Tottenham Hotspur and into the Premier League’s top four.
“When I came (to Newcastle), I said I’d like to fight to be in the Champions League,” Coloccini said. “Everybody looked at me like I was crazy!
“We had not so good times, but now we’re fighting for that. When I came, I hoped I would play in the Champions League with Newcastle, so hopefully I can do that next year.”
Newcastle’s form this season is in stark contrast to that in his first campaign, when the club was relegated on the final day of a dismal campaign.
However, that experience has been the making of Coloccini, and more importantly the team, whose spirit was forged in the Championship, when reputations and price tags counted for little.
With the club in turmoil off the pitch, the adversity Coloccini and his colleagues faced that season under Chris Hughton’s careful guidance has given those in Alan Pardew’s squad who experienced it a welcome perspective.
“It’s nice– I’ve had good times, and bad times,” he added.
“(The Championship) was good. I learnt a lot of things in the Championship that help me now in the Premier League.
“Now we have to enjoy this. We are near to getting a good position in the league. For the city and the fans, it’s good.”
Now settled on Tyneside with his family, Coloccini – who signed a new long-term contract earlier this year – and his family are looking to the future.
Coloccini’s five-year-old son is already showing an appetite for the game at which his father has proved so adept.
“I feel at home here now,” he said. “My wife is happy. My kids go to school, and they’re happy, so everything is good.”