Jack Colback

Boss's Colback praise

by Stuart Vose

Manager hails young midfielder.

Martin O’Neill has hailed Jack Colback’s versatility as a key asset to the club.

The product of the club’s Academy has been mainly used in midfield by O’Neill but has occasionally been deployed at left-back.

Colback figured successfully on the left side of defence against Morecambe in midweek and O’Neill says a conversation with the player beforehand underlined his team-first attitude.

Jack's played well enough to earn his place in the team

- Martin O'Neill

“Jack just wants to play,” O’Neill said ahead of this weekend’s trip to Swansea.

“I spoke to him the other evening and told him he would be playing at left back – he told me he was just happy to play and be in the team.

“He’s played well enough to earn his place in the team. In fact, I said to him on Thursday that it’s great that he can play in a number of positions for us, and play them well.”

After cutting his teeth during two loan spells at Ipswich, Colback has become a regular on Wearside and made 40 appearances last season.

While O’Neill is happy to use Colback at left back, his primary thoughts are to use the 22-year-old in the middle of the park.

“I still see him mainly as a midfield player,” he confirmed.

“At left back you can see the picture of the game right in front of you – it seems to stretch out forever.

“Jack is pretty comfortable in both those positions.”