In years gone by, Newcastle have been notorious for bad defending. But that really changed over the past decade, particularly under Rafa Benitez.
Here are the Magpies’ top seven centre-backs of the past 10 years.
7: Steven Taylor
A player who outstayed his welcome at St James’ Park, the end of Steven Taylor’s Newcastle career took away from the many good times he had in black and white. At one point Taylor was so good that he got into the England squad.
A committed player who had his fair share of bad moments, Taylor was released in 2016.
6: Ciaran Clark
Ciaran Clark was an interesting signing in 2016, having seen his stock drop dramatically after some poor showings at Aston Villa. But Clark was a rock in the Championship and could arguably be considered as our best player that season.
Clark has been just as good in the Premier League, despite not being a guaranteed starter. His performances so far this season have been excellent, having been tipped to leave over the summer.
5: Mike Williamson
While ‘Get Mike to Brazil’ wasn’t successful, Mike Williamson was a massive hit in black and white. Alongside Fabricio Coloccini, Willo looked cultured and dominant. Newcastle’s best performances at the start of the decade were when Williamson was in the side.
He was certainly limited, but enjoyed a real purple patch with the Magpies. He’s still in the north east, acting as player-manager at Gateshead.
4: Fabian Schar
The fact that Fabian Schar cost just £3 million is incredible. What a bargain.
Schar is a fan favourite at the back, playing like a peak Philippe Albert. He glides forward with the ball from the back, running past players like he’s Lionel Messi, capable of thundering the ball into the top corner as if he’s Steven Gerrard.
But he’s also sensational at the back, a player who can read the game and make vital challenges up against the toughest of opponents.
3: Florian Lejeune
A current Magpie who has just returned to the team after a horrific injury, Florian Lejeune is a Rolls Royce Defender. He arrived from Eibar in 2017, and after a brief adaptation period, he quickly proved he could be a star in the Premier League.
Whether he’s in a centre-back pair or trio, Lejeune is a star. He can do the dirty side of the game, putting in incredible blocks and tackles, but he’s also excellent in possession, capable of spraying passes forward and starting attacks.
2: Jamaal Lascelles
Captain fantastic, Jamaal Lascelles is a key player in Newcastle’s recent history. Despite his tentative age, he stood up and held everyone to account in 2016.
He was rewarded with the captaincy that summer, and he’s worn the armband with pride, proving to be an excellent leader both on and off the pitch.
Lascelles gets some flack from fans at times, but he’s a massively important player for Newcastle and has to be considered as one of our players of the decade.
1: Fabricio Coloccini
As good as Lascelles is, he’s no Coloccini.
When the Argentinian was on form, there weren’t many players in the Premier League who were as good as him. That’s why he was named in the PFA Team of the Year alongside Vincent Kompany in 2012. He was so good at times that Alan Pardew even compared him to the legendary Bobby Moore.
He was the love of my life, I’d let him do things with my wife. I just want curly hair too.