Newcastle captain Fabricio Coloccini targets World Cup place as he returns to Toon

Alan Pardew said Fabricio Coloccini made Newcastle look "a different team" when he returned at the end of last season. Photo: Steve Drew/EMPICS Sport

Newcastle skipper Fabricio Coloccini will return to the club next week intent on winning a trip to the World Cup in Brazil.

The 31-year-old central defender looked to be on his way out of St James' Park in January when he asked to leave for personal reasons.

However, after a series of telephone conversations with manager Alan Pardew during the close season, the Argentina international will embark upon pre-season training raring to go for both club and country.

Pardew told the Chronicle: "Colo made it very clear in the summer that he is coming back to play this season. He really has the bit between his teeth.

"He wants to play in the World Cup in Brazil, not to mention Newcastle United's season.

"Me and him have had a lot of discussions about last year and they were very constructive, I have to say.

"He wants to come back, and he wants to lead us. He showed at the back end of last year how important he is to us. When he played, we looked a different team."

Coloccini's January bombshell left both player and club in difficult positions, and Pardew had to take a delicate approach as his captain dealt with his off-field problems.

The manager said: "I was a little bit disappointed with some of the press about that.

"It was a personal situation. It is difficult for that to play out in the press as it did.

"It was uncomfortable for him and for me. I still won't talk about it because it is not fair on Colo."