EXCLUSIVE

Darren Bent has been left raving over the leadership qualities of Newcastle United star Jamaal Lascelles after admitting his surprise at the defender being handed the captain’s armband.

The former Tottenham and England star, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, revealed he was taken aback by the then-22-year-old being named the Magpies’ captain ahead of their 2016/17 Championship campaign, a role he has held ever since.

Now 25, Lascelles and his teammates have endured a difficult start to the new Premier League season, a 1-0 defeat to Arsenal followed by a disappointing 3-1 loss at newly-promoted Norwich City.

Bent has been left raving over the Newcastle defender’s qualities as a captain and leader, insisting that the club’s poor start will help him develop as an individual.

He told Football Insider: “When they first made him captain I was a bit surprised but over the years he’s turned into a real leader. He’s still quite young for him to be captain of such a high-profile football club.

“When it doesn’t go well, it’s tough, I’ve been there when the home fans are on the home team’s back, it’s a tough place to go and play. It’s a learning experience for him, it’ll make him a stronger character and I’m sure he’s got people around him who are experienced that can help.”

Lascelles was a mainstay for Newcastle during the 2018/19 campaign, missing just six Premier League fixtures on the way to their 13th-placed finish.

He has a total of 139 appearances under his belt for the Magpies across all competitions, having joined the club from Nottingham Forest.

In other Newcastle United news, Danny Mills has told Football Insider that one senior star could be a “massive asset” for the club.