By Amir Mir
Jamaal Lascelles has been hailed as a “big personality” by Rafael Benitez after being appointed the Newcastle captain for the forthcoming Championship season.
The club revealed on their official website on Thursday morning that the 22-year-old, who took the armband for the Magpies five pre-season games will now lead them into the forthcoming season, starting away at Fulham on Friday evening.
Lascelles arrived on Tyneside from Nottingham Forest in 2014, but was loaned straight back to the club before the centre-back eventually made his Newcastle debut last season in the League Cup against Northampton Town.
Despite the club’s relegation last season, Lascelles impressed with his leadership and strength of character, which has prompted the manager to hand an important role to the youngster.
“We have a few players now in the squad who have the character to be captain,” Benitez told the club’s official website. “But Jamaal has proven himself to be a leader and a big personality in the dressing room and on the pitch. ”
“At the end of last season he really developed as a character and a man. I am pleased that Jamaal will be our captain, but I have also said to other players that they must too show their character, strength and leadership qualities to support the team.”
Lascelles now follows in the footsteps of the likes of hard hitting defender Brian Kilcline, former striker Alan Shearer and arguarbly the club’s greatest ever captain Bobby Moncur.
But,the Nottingham Forrest academy graduate has vowed to give his all for the club as they aim for instant promotion back to the Premier League.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling for a manager like Rafa Benitez to give me the captain’s armband at a club like this,” said Lascelles.
“It is a lot of responsibility for a young player but I will always give my all because I want what is best for the team and the Club. It is such a proud moment for me and the biggest in my career so far.
“It is nice for someone to show that much trust in you, and I want to repay the manager’s faith by leading this team back into the Premier League.”
Benitez will now head into the Championship opener with a healthy team selection headache after adding nine players to his squad this summer, most recently the additions of Hull midfielder Mo Diame and Aston Villa centre-back Ciaran Clark.
In other Newcastle team news, the club’s new £5 million signing is given a grand tour of St James Park.