Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has reasserted his role as the Magpies manager and declared that Joey Barton's selection is the boss's decision, as he offers the 28-year-old an "olive branch".
He may still offer the midfielder a chance to prove his loyalty to the club in the big opening fixture against Arsenal on Saturday, as he looks to galvanise his squad for the new season.
Pardew said: “It's my decision. I'll probably talk to Joey before the start of training on Friday but I'm not sure whether he'll start on Saturday, whatever answer he gives me.
“Only Joey will determine that. I've said to Joey that he won't play for me and I won't include him unless I think he's pulling for us. He's in the process of weighing up what he needs to do.
"I've offered Joey an olive branch... my dressing room has to be united, we have to fight as one. I think Joey's in a better frame of mind. I think he's beginning to get his head around that it's a difficult decision for him.”
After having lost his star left-back Jose Enrique, Pardew is pushing his positive influence at St James' Park to get Newcastle firing on every cylinder. He is determined to get the most out of every player that passes through Tyneside.
"I think it's very, very important that we all try and build a new understanding," he added. "It's important that the club and players have agreed there's something in place to reward you for what you do.
"It's important the board and the players are together. At any football club that's what you need. There has to be a mutual respect. Of course, as the manager it's difficult sometimes because you're in the middle.
“I'm employed by Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias, but my loyalties are just as strong to the players, who I represent and care about and want to try and enhance their careers and make them better players."
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms