FABRICIO Coloccini is a player of the season contender already, according to his Newcastle United team-mate Jonas Gutierrez.
Coloccini scored a stunning goal in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Tottenham Hotspur.
But the 29-year-old’s biggest contribution has been in defence this season, where he has been oustanding.
And Coloccini’s fellow Argentina international Gutierrez isn’t surprised with the plaudits which have come his way, the winger having pointed to his record at former club Deportivo La Coruna, where he didn’t miss a game for two seasons.
“Colo is having a really good season,” Gutierrez said.
“I think in all of the last few games he has been really strong.
“That’s good for the team. Colo, I think, is one of the best players this season.
“You know the teams he was at before and you know what type of player he is.
“For me, it’s normal to see him play like this. In Deportivo, in the last two years, I don’t think he missed a game.
“He played the full season, and the full minutes.
“If have seen the career of Colo, you know he has been a consistent player.”
Coloccini’s first season in England was largely forgettable, the centre-half having struggled to adjust to the Premier League as the club headed towards relegation in a troubled campaign on and off the field.
However, Coloccini didn’t leave St James’s Park in the wake of relegation and quickly got to grips with the Championship.
And this term Coloccini has looked every bit a £10m player, the fee Newcastle paid Deportivo for him having been scoffed at the season before last.
Meanwhile, a trio of United players have earned international call-ups.
Striker Leon Best has been named in the Republic of Ireland’s 29-man provisional squad for their game against Wales no February 8.
Tamas Kadar has been called up by Hungary for their friendly against Azerbaijan in Dubai on the following day.
And Kadar’s fellow defender Paul Dummett is in the Wales Under-21 squad for their fixture against Northern Ireland on February 9.