Jamaal Lascelles was signed over a year ago, and along with goalkeeper Karl Darlow he joined the Newcastle first team squad only this summer, after spending last season on loan at Nottingham Forest.
And from an interview he’s just given, Jamaal seems to be enjoying the competition for places at Newcastle, and the important thing is he seems to be learning from experienced players like Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor.
Jamaal Lascelles in action against Northampton Town
With the emergency loan window now open, we expect either Jamaal or Mike Williamson to be loaned out to a Football League club, so that we have four center-backs at Newcastle, and it remains to be seen which of those two players makes the loan move.
Mike has a slight injury at the moment, but he could be ready for Monday night’s game at West Ham, although Fabricio Coloccini and Chancel Mbemba are expected to start in central defense.
Jamaal comes across as a young player who is desperate to learn and improve his game:
“The staff haven’t set me any targets, but I have my own personal ones.” “I just want to be doing the best I can and hopefully be playing.”
“We have great competition at center-half with the likes of Coloccini, Taylor and Williamson, but if I work hard, then hopefully I can play.”
“I watch not just Coloccini, but the others – Taylor, Williamson. I watch them really closely in training.”
“I’m the youngest, so experience-wise they might have the edge on me, so it’s really important for me to watch what they do and see how they are around the place.”
“It’s really beneficial for me as I’ve only played two full seasons at Nottingham Forest.”
“I’m strong and fast, but I will do whatever the coach asks.” “I’d prefer to get the ball down and play, but if they tell me to kick it, I’ll kick it. I just enjoy playing football.”
“It was quite frustrating, but also exciting that I knew I was going to Newcastle United,” “I was always playing with a smile, but now I’m here it’s just proving to be brilliant.”
Lascelles played for the England youth sides from U18 through U21, and when he had just turned 18 in January of 2011, Nottingham Forest turned down a £5M offer for him from Arsenal.
So Jamaal seems to have everything it takes to become a very good center-back, and England manager Roy Hodgson even invited him to train with the full England squad while he was still at Forest.
Jamaal turns 22 in November, so he will need to start coming through at Newcastle, and it will be up to Steve McClaren as to how he gets him games to improve, either at Newcastle or our on loan with another club.
It’s a big season for Jamaal, so we hope he can come through at Newcastle, but he should also remember that both Steven Taylor and Mike Williamson have contracts which end next summer.
They will probably not be renewed, although Steve McClaren seems to rate Taylor highly.
But while it may be less crowded next year in central defense, Newcastle will be expected to bring in another center-back next summer, and who we bring in will largely depend on whether Jamaal shows he can do the job at Newcastle.
It would be good if Jamaal makes good progress at Newcastle this season – either by staying in the first team squad, or playing out on loan at a Championship club.
But you cannot question the lad’s attitude – Jamaal’s very keen to improve his game.
What do you think?