Resurgent Cheick Tiote has told Fabricio Coloccini he is still Newcastle United’s leader.
However, Tiote has pledged to continuing leading from the front – even if the armband is stripped from him for the visit of Norwich next week.
Tiote again took the armband for the trip to White Hart Lane last weekend as Coloccini was overlooked in favour of the in-form duo Mike Williamson and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.
However, it is a matter of when, not if the Argentina defender returns in a move which might remove captain’s responsibilities from the combative Ivorian.
Tiote was handed those duties by boss Alan Pardew in a bid to try to coax his best form out of him and it seems to have worked, the midfielder returning a series of performances stamped with the sort of authority which made him a hot property in his first season in England.
Tiote has admitted being given the captain’s armband has given him confidence after suggesting he suffered from doubts about his game following his red card at Sunderland in the autumn of last year.
Although he has designs on inheriting the job in the long-term, Tiote has no doubts about who is Pardew’s current on-field lieutenant.
He said: “I don’t know what will happen now (Coloccini is back) but Colo is still the captain of Newcastle.
“He was injured and the manager chose me to take over but if Colo is fit and comes back into the team he will be captain.
Losing the armband would not be the end of the world for the midfielder, who thinks he can still be a leader even in the absence of the strap. He added: “Even if he does get it back I think I can still play like I have been since I’ve had that responsibility.
“I think the most important thing is I do my best on the pitch for the team and play well and if I don’t have the armband it doesn’t matter to me.
“It’s not about one player it’s about the team and we have to play together like we have a play as one.
“Then we will put ourselves in a good position to win games like we have done against Tottenham and Chelsea.”
Meanwhile, midfielder Dan Gosling has opened the door for Blackpool to extend his loan move, which is scheduled to expire in January.
Gosling has started the last four games for Blackpool and has impressed boss Paul Ince, who wants to try and broker a deal until the end of the season.
Having been told he is surplus to requirements at Newcastle, the former Everton man is unsurprisingly open to that possibility.
Gosling said: “Of course I’d be interested in staying for the rest of the season.
“If the club want me here and Newcastle agree then I’ll sit down and talk.
“I just want to keep performing well and keep us high in the table.”
Gosling’s move to Newcastle has not panned out as United had hoped, the former Everton man suffering a number of injuries and failing to convince Alan Pardew he has the pedigree to play the role of attacking midfielder.
He made a positive impression with his attitude after a move to Crystal Palace broke down but. aside from a rare start in the Capital One Cup at Morecambe, he has failed to make regular starts.
Gosling admitted: “It’s a nice feeling to walk out and get 90 minutes football every week,.
“I just have to make sure I can keep my position in the team. I feel I am getting better each week.”