By Harry Sykes
Jack Colback played the full 90 minutes of Newcastle’s 1-1 draw against Birmingham in the FA Cup on Saturday – and fans on Twitter panned his performance.
The central midfielder was one of only three players who kept his place in the starting XI as manager Rafael Benitez rung the changes to allow most of his regulars a breather.
The former Sunderland player, 27, lined up in central midfield alongside the recalled Cheick Tiote in Benitez’s new-look 3-5-2 formation.
Newcastle began brightly and took a fifth minute lead through Daryl Murphy but Lukas Jutkiewicz kept Gianfranco Zola’s Birmingham in the FA Cup as they came from behind to earn a third-round replay against at St Andrews in 10 days’ time.
Supporters were universally dismissive of the performance of Colback, who is a regular victim of fan criticism on social media.
Here is a selection of their messages on Twitter:
Picking Colback in midfield is like having sprouts on toast with salad cream it doesn’t work. Clueless display lucky to get a replay! #NUFC
— Kraig Robbo (@KraigRobbo_) January 7, 2017
my all time worst #NUFC XI. Hooper, Fereday, Boumsong, Babayaro, Heard, Colback, McClen, Fumaca (going by reports), McDonald, Cacapa, Smith.
— Damio. (@dcb72) January 7, 2017
Last month has shown true colours of some players imo Ritchie been poor gouffran back to him self Clark poor colback n dummet same old #Nufc
— ToonBlades ? (@toonbaldes) January 7, 2017
— NUFC 360 (@NUFC360) January 7, 2017
— Craig-James Moncur (@Director_Craig) January 7, 2017
Tiote and Colback have been terrible going backwards all the time inviting pressure… #nufc
— Chris Rice (@ricey80) January 7, 2017
Us #nufc fans may not always agree on who should start but one thing we all agree on is that Sels + Colback should be nowhere near the pitch
— Tommy Franklin (@YorkMagpie) January 7, 2017
Despite the fans’ comments, Colback is a regular in the Newcastle midfield and was making his 18th appearance of the season on Saturday, 12 of which have been starts.
Supporters believe he lacks the quality on the ball required to be an effective presence in the centre of the pitch.
In other Newcastle news, this is how long Aleksandar Mitrovic is in line to be sidelined through injury.