Steve McClaren

By Dominic Scurr


Head coach Steve McClaren is hoping his Newcastle United players can "lead by example" when they travel to Stoke City on Wednesday in the Barclays Premier League (7.45pm kick-off).

With Magpies' skipper Fabricio Coloccini sidelined by a calf strain, the captain's armband will be up for grabs at the Britannia Stadium.

But McClaren is remaining tight-lipped regarding his choice for the stand-in role.

"You will find out (on Wednesday)," he said.

"We've talked a lot about character, fight and attitude and realising the situation we are in before it's too late.

"We've lacked (character) especially away from home so it's not about the captain, it's about everybody showing the right attitude.

"Whoever has the armband is irrelevant, you need 11 leaders out there. At times this season we haven't had that. You need leaders on the pitch to give you a good chance of winning."

One named tipped for the role is January signing Jonjo Shelvey, who captained Newcastle to a 2-1 friendly win over Lillestrom in La Manga last month in the absence of Coloccini.

"The captain can be critical because he's the closest person on the pitch to the manager," McClaren continued.

"He has to try to implement the philosophies and that's one of the reasons we brought Jonjo to the Club.

"He epitomises what we want to achieve going forward and we think he is one of those who can drive this team and lead by example.

"(Shelvey) is certainly capable but so are the likes of (Jack) Colback, (Darryl) Janmaat and Steven Taylor.

"Colo will be missing for the next couple of games so it will be interesting to see how we cope with that and see who steps forward."