Does Newcastle's change in approach explain Jack Colback's continued exile?

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez (l) and coach Mikel Antia react during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Stoke City at St. James Park on September 16, 2017 in Newcastle...

Newcastle no longer have room in their midfield for a player like Jack Colback, whose best qualities belong at the top end of the Championship.

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez (l) and coach Mikel Antia react during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Stoke City at St. James Park on September 16, 2017 in Newcastle...

Jack Colback was left out of Newcastle United's team photo on Thursday and he is yet to feature for Rafa Benitez's side this season.

There have been various reports about why that may be, but - even in the widely reported story of a training ground bust-up, carried by the Daily Mail - it began with Colback training away from the first team.

He featured recently for Peter Beardsley's reserve team and that appears to be his home, for the timebeing at least.

Jack Colback in action  during the Sky Bet Championship match between Newcastle United and Nottingham Forest at St James' Park on December 30, 2016 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

If Benitez had already decided to dispense of Colback before any alleged feud, that would suggest he does not feel the former Sunderland man's talents befit the team he is looking to build this season.

And that's a perfectly understandable stance given Colback's role last season and how differently Newcastle plan to play.

In the Championship, Benitez's men bossed games and Colback was almost an insurance policy, ready in the midfield to snap into action and commit a niggly foul if it looked like the opposition were breaking.

Newcastle player Jack Colback (r) challenges Che Adams (l) of Birmingham during The Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Birmingham City and Newcastle United at St Andrews (stadium)...

Under Benitez, Colback has never been a ball-playing midfielder or an energetic box-to-box presence - nor has he been particularly disciplined.

This term, as Newcastle sit back, soak up pressure and look to counter themselves, there simply is no room for such a player.

Colback, even with his limitations, had a function last year. It may well be that Benitez quickly realised that would not be the case back in the Premier League.

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