Jamaal Lascelles has been one of the breakout stars of the Premier League season and he has now established himself at the top level. The Newcastle United captain played a key role as Rafa Benitez’s side finished in the top ten in their first season back in the top-flight. This will be seen as just the start for the Magpies and defender, with both having loftier ambitions.
The recent England squad announcement didn’t feature Lascelles, but he is likely to feature for the national team over the coming years. A lot of people would have taken the defender to Russia, as he has consistently performed for Newcastle and helped his side finish with the 7th best defence in the league.
His influence was huge as Newcastle conceded less than a goal per game when he was in the team. Meanwhile, they struggled without him and conceded 15 goals in the five matches when he didn’t feature. Lascelles provides a calmness to the back four that allows the rest of the team to thrive and his leadership skills are a major reason for that.
Considering he is 24 and already performing to a high standard as a Premier League captain, it is expected that there will be interest in Lascelles this summer. The Independent report that he is one of the players on Liverpool’s radar. Jurgen Klopp is keen to strengthen his back-line and find a reliable partner for Virgil van Dijk. The Newcastle skipper and James Tarkowski are the two names being mentioned.
Lascelles will be flattered by the interest, but he has been quick to speak out about his loyalty to Newcastle United. The Northern Echo reported the following quotes from the 24-year-old:
“I’m very happy here. You hear things, you hear rumours and stuff, but I’m a young player and I need to be playing football at a good club – and that’s what this is.
“This is the right club for me at the right time. We have a huge fan base, an amazing manager, and this club is massive. It has so much history.”
It is refreshing to hear a young Englishman speak with such maturity, but that is becoming the norm for Jamaal Lascelles. The defender has regularly impressed team-mates and the media alike with the way he talks about the game. He will know that he has plenty of time ahead of him in his career and that there is no rush to leave Newcastle.
The Magpies may no longer be one of the elite, but they are a huge club and Lascelles is currently the captain learning under one of the best defensive coaches in the game. Benitez has had a positive impact on the former Nottingham Forest man and that will continue for the next 12-months at least.
A lot of what is good about Newcastle United is linked to Benitez and Lascelles is an example of that. As long as the Spaniard remains in charge, the 24-year-old is likely to remain at St James’ Park as there is hope for a better future and he will be a central part to that. Despite interest from bigger clubs, the centre-back is right to commit his future to the Magpies.