Jamaal Lascelles did not have a good start to the season and most fans thought that the captaincy was weighing down on him and he certainly didn’t play well in those first two games that we lost at Fulham and at home to Huddersfield.
For the next game against Reading at home, Rafa took action and dropped the captain – and that was a real statement to every single Newcastle player.
Jamaal Lascelles – Newcastle captain
If you are not doing your job you will not be in the team, even if you are the caption.
Being dropped shocked the young captain and this is what he has said in the Express:
“It was a wake-up call for me. I’m glad he did it because it sets the standards for the rest of the team.”
“If you are not pulling your weight, you will be out of the team. I’m not one to sulk and think, ‘why have I been dropped?’.”
“It’s a long season and the manager told us he is going to rotate. Everybody knows what the task is and what is needed. So we’re all going to listen to him and get on with it.”
“Everybody is doing their job,” he said. “It might take time to totally gel but against Brighton, I thought we were starting to do that.”
That move by Rafa seems to have turned things around and the manager brought his captain into the game after 75 minutes against Reading – another good man-management move by Benitez.
We won the game 4-1 and since then Jamaal has looked more like his old self.
The captain remains a top young defender at Newcastle, who could well become a great player for us in the future – especially under the guidance of Rafa Benitez.
That would be something.