Evening Chronicle: "The first month of the year and Newcastle United’s captain, for whatever reason, just don’t go together.
"Injury always seems to strike him in the new year. He has missed the last three FA Cup third round exits, although the trouble managed to clear up for the next league game.
"Even when this has not been keeping him out the team, he has wanted to get out of the club altogether in the form of a move back to South America.
"Not only that, but the dressing room leader is nowhere to be seen when the rest of the squad head to the sun for some warm weather training.
"Last year he was a no-show in Abu Dhabi. This time he is the only first-team member not to have made the trip to Dubai, although we understand that this is for genuine personal reasons and, of course, there are more important things in life than jogging around a pitch in the UAE.
"Although given his past record, anyone would be forgiven for any cynicism regarding the captain’s non-appearance this week. He does seem to experience more personal reasons than most.
"There is no transfer request this time around, but there is a birthday. He turns 33 on Thursday which in central defender years isn’t actually that old. Plenty in this position actually play their best stuff in their early thirties.
"The problem for Coloccini, and by extension his team, is that he’s woefully out-of-form. Not only that, but a genuinely popular character among the support has started to lose quite a bit of credit, even if he still has a lot in the bank.
"Not playing against Leicester in the FA Cup a week or after he was said to be desperate to be the captain who lifted a trophy wearing a Newcastle jersey didn’t do him any favours."