By Harry Sykes
Rafael Benitez has revealed that Jamaal Lascelles reacted “really well” to being axed by Newcastle for their midweek win over Reading.
Benitez demoted the recently appointed Newcastle skipper to the substitute’s bench for the 4-1 victory at St James’ Park, a decision which left the club’s supporters baffled on Twitter before kick-off.
Lascelles was demoted in favour of new £5million signing Ciaran Clark, who made his debut in the heart of the defence alongside Chancel Mbemba.
Speaking on Friday, Benitez revealed why the recently appointed club captain was overlooked and how it is something the Newcastle players will have to get used to over a gruelling campaign.
“I like to change players with two games in a week,” Benitez said, as quoted by the Chronicle live blog (1.07pm). “All of them will be important. It’s obvious we will have squad rotation.
“Lascelles reacted really well. That’s the reason I gave him armband. He knows his responsibility.”
Benitez replied “we will see” when asked if the 22-year-old will return for Saturday’s Championship trip to Bristol City.
Lascelles, who was introduced as a second-half substitute late on against Reading, subsequently posted on his personal Twitter account his support for the side despite his omission from the line-up.
Lads put in a shift tonight, great feeling to get our first win. On to Saturday #⚫️⚪️
— Jamaal Lascelles (@Lascelles16) August 17, 2016
Lascelles, 22, was named as the club captain at the start of the season and he watched his team-mates give lift-off to their Championship campaign.
Newcastle chopped and changed captains last season, with Fabricio Coloccini, Moussa Sissoko and Jonjo Shelvey all donning the armband.
Lascelles is believed to have caught Benitez’ eye towards the end of last season after becoming a big voice in the dressing room.
In the latest Newcastle team news, their star player has revealed he hopes to return to training next week.