If the cap fits – John Carver backs Newcastle United duo for international duty

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FABRICIO Coloccini and Steven Taylor have been backed to come out of international exile after starring for Newcastle United.

The pair have been outstanding in the early part of their campaign.

Coloccini has captained Alan Pardew’s side to an unbeaten start to the season.

And Taylor, along with Manchester City’s Joleon Lescott, is the top-ranked English defender in the EA Sports Player Performance Index.

Yet the 25-year-old and his Coloccini have been overlooked by England and Argentina this season.

Coloccini hasn’t been called up for two years, while former Under-21 captain Taylor has never made a senior appearance for his country, though he was once named in a Steve McClaren squad.

Their exclusion has baffled United’s assistant manager, John Carver, though he concedes Coloccini’s exile is to the club’s benefit given the gruelling trans-Atlantic journeys he has been spared.

“First of all, they’ve been quite prominent in the Premier League,” Carver said.

“Funnily enough, when the international squads came out I told Colo I was quite surprised he wasn’t included.

“That’s to our benefit, so I’m not going to complain about that one!”

Taylor’s appearances have been restricted by injuries over the past couple of seasons.

However, since returning to the team late last season – when he netted in three successive games – he hasn’t looked back.

And Carver – who has worked with Taylor since he was at Newcastle’s Academy as a youngster – credits Coloccini as having played a significant part in his return to form.

The pair’s contrasting styles complement each other, with the more physical Taylor proving an ideal foil for ball-playing centre-half Coloccini.

What’s more, Carver feels their partnership will only improve.

“With regard to the two of them as a pair, we all know that central defence has been a problem for England,” added Carver.

“I’m not saying Steven Taylor’s ready for it, but he has come through the ranks playing through all the ages up to the Under-21s.

“All Steven – who had his issues last year with injuries – has got to concentrate on is playing a lot of games for the football club this season.

“Who knows? They might have one eye on Steven, but the good thing is that he’s got someone like Coloccini playing alongside him on a regular basis.”

Meanwhile, Sammy Ameobi and Danny Guthrie are doubts for Sunday’s home game against Tottenham Hotspur.

The pair suffered minor injuries playing for Newcastle United’s reserves last week.

And striker Ameobi (hamstring) and midfielder Guthrie (groin) are being assessed by the club’s medical staff before manager Alan Pardew makes a decision on their involvement.

“Sammy had a tight hamstring,” assistant manager John Carver said.

“Whether he’ll be involved at the weekend, I couldn’t tell you. He’s got a bit of time – we’ll just have to wait and see.

“Danny Guthrie’s got a slight issue with his groin from that game as well.”