Jack Colback is not ahead of Vurnon Anita in Newcastle’s pecking order

Words by Kevin Doocey on .

Newcastle's Vurnon Anita celebrates after scoring against Hull

While in my usual routine of browsing Twitter (@KevinDoocey if you’re not following!) I noticed a large number of Newcastle United fans detailing out their preferred starting eleven ahead of the upcoming Premier League season. Most people had a similar forward featuring the likes of Rémy Cabella, Siem de Jong and indeed Emmanuel Rivière. However, when it came to our midfield line-up, there were a few differences. What caught my eye was the quantity of people who had Jack Colback starting ahead of Vurnon Anita in a holding position. Firstly, when Colback made the short trip from Wearside to sign the dotted line at St. James’ Park, the majority of Newcastle fans were not impressed. They claimed he wasn’t any improvement to the current line-up, although, admittedly, a superior option to the departed Dan Gosling. So, when I sifted through my timeline and saw Colback’s name of Anita, it not only confused me, but surprised me.

Jack Colback is a player that I rate, no doubt about that. Under the correct coaching he could be a very efficient holding midfielder, and he is naturally left-footed which is a rare commodity to have among English players nowadays. At just 24 years-old, plenty of Premier League experience, and a free agent — it made perfect sense for Newcastle to sign him up.

Colback is used to a relegation battle. He has played everywhere from centre-mid, left-wing to indeed left-back in his days in red and white so again, he is a versatile option to have. However, from those relegation fights, Colback hardly stood out enough to immediately merit a starting role in Newcastle’s XI surely?

Vurnon Anita has just turned 25, and this guy is capped by his country (Netherlands), and indeed has worn the captains armband at Ajax - the club he departed for a shot at the Premier League. He can play right-back, but a holding role is best for the 5ft 6inches who on Graham Carr’s recommendation, made a £6.7m move to Tyneside.

Anita has shown in the past season that he getting into the groove. He was one our best players last season and for me - he was technically the most gifted player in the squad up until the arrival of Siem de Jong this summer. Also, as we know, where did de Jong arrive from? Ajax. Spotting the trend?

There is absolutely no way that Jack Colback starts ahead of Vurnon Anita this season - the Dutchman is a far superior player at this moment, and he will only get better. Colback on the otherhand is a good option to have, but has neither the experience or guile of Vurnon yet.

It is great that there is such a debate to be had because it means we have options in midfield, but in my book, there is no debate to be had - Anita is considerably higher up the pecking order at SJP than summer arrival Jack Colback.

Maybe you disagree? Feel free to argue your case in the comment section below.

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Chubby: ⏱ 21/07/2014

Anita was one of worst players last season and how many did colback score compared to Anita,should be tiote,Capella,colback and de Jong in midfield riverere and Carroll up front

Chubby: ⏱ 21/07/2014

He won't be here or yes he would come first sissoko and Kruel are gone

Adam Hardy: ⏱ 21/07/2014

I'm not convinced about Anita - though glad to have him in the squad. His crossing is flat too - much more likely to hoof floaters than dangerously whipped crosses. But I'm hoping he will improve and influence games more. I would probably start with both Colback and Anita on the bench...all valuable members of the squad though.

Craig Spencer: ⏱ 21/07/2014

a bit like Didiers Deschamps think's he's a flying winger too you mean?

toonintexas: ⏱ 21/07/2014

Colback was miles ahead of anybody in black and white great player will fit in wherever he is needed.Anita is good but not the future

Spot: ⏱ 21/07/2014

"In France’s last two matches, the 24-year-old former Toulouse man has shown exactly why he was taken to Brazil ahead of arguably more gifted players. Playing as part of France’s midfield trio in a 4-3-3, Sissoko’s athleticism and energy were crucial in the way France dominated the game." he played CM , with the 2 wide men alongside the striker as the front three. we could do the same, with a flexible front three. ............................ Krul ............................. Janmaat... Collocini.... An.other..........Santon ..............Sissoko.....Tiote........Colbeck......... Riviere.....................SDJ..................... Cabella

Spot: ⏱ 21/07/2014

Although I would prefer.. ............................ Krul ............................. Janmaat... Collocini.... An.other..........Santon .........................Sissoko.....Tiote.................... ..................................SDJ............................. ...........Grenier.......Riviere..... Cabella

David Cresswell: ⏱ 21/07/2014

Almost the same personnel, just a slight reshuffle for me... ............................ Krul ............................. Janmaat... Collocini.... An.other........Santon/Haidara ..............................Tiote............................ ...Cabella..............Sissoko.........Colbeck/Goofy... ...............................SDJ............................... .............................Riviere...........................

Karol: ⏱ 21/07/2014

Colback (at least last season) looked to get more involved in the attacking aspects of the game then did Anita. Anita undoubtedly is the more technically gifted player but (maybe due to lack of size or just the setup of the team) disappears from games once the team is in final third with the ball. And as a technically gifted player, he should have played a larger role moving the ball forward and creating after the departure of Cabaye. Something he didn't really do. Colback, on the other hand, seems to allows get involved. Not as a creative force by any means, but as an option. Now seeing as both are very versatile players with good engines and awareness both will benefit from having De Jong (and Cabella) in the team. (Anita probably more so). Ultimately, neither of these two would make it into my starting 11 as Newcastle has this freak of an athlete in Sissoko, who should be playing a box to box role for the club. But both Anita and Colback bring something a little different to the team in a similar role. Which will be a huge plus as it will provide Pardew with a lot of options when it comes time to shut up shop (we all know he'll try to) or link play on counter attacks.

Doocey: ⏱ 21/07/2014

It's not Anita's job to score goals.

Scott: ⏱ 21/07/2014

At last somebody who fully understands Anita's inadequacies' and used my phrase exactly, 'like playing with 10 men'. He's a hider and a fraud, pretending to run about a lot whilst never getting close enough to anybody defensively and lacks the quality to effect the game offensively. Having watched him live approximately 15 times during the season prior to moving to Newcastle, I said the day we signed him that he was one for the Guivarch / Marcelino box. Choosing him over Leroy Fer is probably the biggest howler Graham Carr will make in his career. He'll be with us for many seasons to come as nobody in football can truly rate him enough to take him from us, just hope he doesn't start a meaningful game this season. Colback will start every game before Anita when fit.