By Russell Edge

29th Mar, 2018 | 2:27pm

Newcastle star delivers dream inside verdict on figure fans desperate to tie down

Newcastle United defender and captain Jamaal Lascelles has said that manager Rafael Benitez “wants to be” at the club as fans urge the Magpies to tie his future down at St James’ Park.

The Spanish boss took over on Tyneside back in 2016, replacing Steve McClaren as manager, and although he was unable to rescue the side from suffering relegation to the Championship, he put pen to paper over a new three year deal that summer.

Having guided the Magpies back to the top flight as champions in the second tier, he has gone on to give the club a foothold on securing Premier League football next season, currently sitting 13th in the table with eight games to play.

However, the summer will see him have just one year left, leaving fans uncertain about his future.

Now Lascelles, who Benitez made captain ahead of their Championship campaign, has delivered the dream verdict for the Toon Army, insisting the Spaniard wants to be at the club and that his tenure has been nothing but positive.

He told the Telegaph: “I think for a while now that the best thing that this club has done is brought the manager in. Since he has been here things have been on the up.

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“We’ve got a manager who trusts us and he wants to be here, the fans are with him, so that’s really important for the players.

“It’s important that the club keeps him happy and holds on to him for as long as possible.”

Newcastle return from their three week break after the internationals to face off against Huddersfield on Saturday, the Terriers sitting one point and two places below the Magpies.

Football Insider verdict

Newcastle fans have been urging the club to snap up Benitez and now one of the club’s most important players has joined in on the act. Lascelles’ inside verdict on the Spaniard only confirms what we can see from the outside, and that is that the former Liverpool and Real Madrid boss has totally transformed the atmosphere and ethos surrounding the club. Losing him would not be just a massive blow in terms of the first team, but for the whole groundwork he has established, from the youth system to the work with the foundation. He is more than a manager, he is a leader, and wants to be part of the club from top to bottom, and fans and players are backing him to stay for the foreseeable future.

In other Newcastle United transfer news, the Magpies are eyeing up an 11-goal star to fill a problem position.

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