We couldn’t have said it better ourselves and there are lots of reports in the papers that after the game on Saturday, 22 year-old Jamaal Lascelles was more than vocal in the dressing room after the game at Southampton, when other more senior players didn’t have too much to say.
Jamaal came on for the woeful Steven Taylor at half time and had a decent enough game at center-back in the second half, when Newcastle were again better, but only after they had lost the game by going down 3-0.
It’s safe enough to play when you know you have already lost the game.
Jamaal Lascelles gesticulating at his team mates in second half
Hey – what you lot doing?
Notice the four more experienced players in the picture
This is some of what Jamaal said after the game in a BBC Sports interview and he got very close to exactly what’s wrong with some of our better players:
“We need bigger characters on the pitch, players who care and who are going to get after each other.”
“We have lacked it this season and no matter how good you are, if you don’t have that fight and hunger and desire, it doesn’t matter.”
“We had Steve McClaren who is a great manager and now we’ve got Rafa Benítez, who is a great manager, so it’s clearly not that.”
“It’s the players and we have to take full responsibility. It’s ourselves who need to change it and not the manager.”
“We need to play with more heart. We’ve got flair players, tricky players, players with loads of talent, but we need more heart, we need more desire.”
Well said Jamaal.
Rob Elliot emerged as an unlikely leader after he came in for the injured Tim Krul last October after starting the season as third choice goalkeeper.
Rob will almost certainly be our Player of the Season this season – and now young Jamaal seems to be showing some guts and leadership too.
Those comments will make the youngster popular with the Newcastle fans and we wouldn’t mind at all if he gets a start on Saturday although we expect Fab Coloccini and Paul Dummett to start the game.
But maybe he can fill in at right back for Daryl Janmaat if he cannot recover from his groin injury or the two fingers he broke when having it out with a wall at half time and came off second best – what again!
I told my son on Sunday morning that Daryl will tell the medical staff this week he is not fit to play in the game on Saturday.
You have to admire Jamaal for those comments – it’s a pity some of our more senior players haven’t got the bottle to speak up too, rather than just hiding out.