Lascelles explains the one important change made at Newcastle
By Amir Mir
Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles has guaranteed fans that the club will not lack any personality under his leadership this season.
Despite the club’s relegation last season, Lascelles impressed with his leadership and strength of character, which prompted manager Rafa Benitez to hand an important role to the youngster.
The 22-year-old insisted that his age is not a problem in leading the team, but ensured supporters that under his leadership the team will not lack any personality as they fight for instant promotion back to the Premier League.
“Age is just a number for me,” Lascelles told the Shield Gazette. “If you’re a big enough character to deal with certain situations, you can deal with it.”
“Maybe, at the start of last season, this team did lack a bit of personality, but I think it’s changed a little bit now.”
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The north east club did not get off to the best of starts in their Championship opener last Friday, when they lost 1-0 away to Fulham after a defensive lapse from Lascelles allowed Matt Smith to head home from a Tom Cairney corner.
Five Newcastle debutants started in the club’s opening game defeat, but Lascelles called upon his teammates to lead on the field, no matter who is wearing the captain’s armband.
“We’ve brought in some massive players,” said Lascelles. “Just because I’m the captain, it doesn’t mean other players can’t lead each other on the pitch. We’ve got three, four or five players who could wear the armband as well. It’s nice to play with them and have them in the squad.”
Benitez has signed eight players this summer with Dwight Gayle, Matt Ritchie, Mats Sels, Isaac Hayden, Grant Hanley, Jesus Gamez, Mo Diame and Ciaran Clark all signing for a combined £50 million
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.
In other Newcastle team news, manager Rafa Benitez makes a prediction ahead of the club’s first home Championship fixture of the season.