Nicky Butt and Fabricio Coloccini

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

Former Newcastle skipper Nicky Butt has paid tribute to the Club's current captain, Fabricio Coloccini - and hailed the Argentine defender as "phenomenal."

Now 37 and hoping to get into management, Butt played a massive role in the Magpies' rebirth following relegation from the top flight as he wore the armband during their march to the Coca-Cola Championship title in 2009/10.

He also saw from close quarters how Coloccini struggled in his first season in English football before blossoming into one of the best centre-backs in the country and leading United to a fifth place finish last term.

The centre-back took over as skipper from Kevin Nolan at the start of last season and was named in the PFA Barclays Premier League team of the season as his fellow professionals recognised his excellent displays.

He also earned plenty of praise for the way he captained the team and once again proved his leadership qualities ahead of the draw with Aston Villa when he came up with the idea of every player wearing tracksuits with the message 'Ryan Taylor Over The Wall' as a show of support for injured team-mate Ryan Taylor.

And Butt, who played alongside Coloccini for two seasons on Tyneside, has watched from afar as his old colleague has grown as a player and as a person.

"I think he's been fantastic, Colo," the former England international told

"He had a difficult year settling in during the first year, which is what lots of players do, but he's come into his own.

"Now he's the captain and he's a phenomenal footballer who's getting accolades off every manager in the league, so it's really good to see."

Click here for details of the Captain's Sponsorship package for Newcastle's next home match against Norwich City