Once Rafa Benitez came in last March he quickly saw the potential of young center-back Jamaal Lascelles, who had hardly been used under Steve McClaren who preferred Fabricio Coloccini and Chancel Mbemba in central defense and seemed unwilling to give the youngster a chance.
Along with goalkeeper Karl Darlow, Jamaal was having his first season in the first team squad and in retrospect these two players have been a great buy for the club for a cumulative £7M.
Jamaal Lascelles – Newcastle captain
Jamaal at just 22 is the Newcastle captain and Karl Darlow showed last season he is a very good goalkeeper in the making and both players have great attitudes and temperaments.
Newcastle are finally starting to look like a good team who are now very well organized and compact.
Jamaal was born in Derby in 1993 and he returned to his home town on Saturday but got booed because most of the time before he played for nearby Nottingham Forest, Derby’s rivals.
He joined when very young and came through the Forest Youth Academy.
After two shocking defeats in the first two league games when Jamaal did not play very well we now have won five games in a row and things are looking up a bit.
This is what Jamaal said today:
“It wasn’t the start we were looking for to the season when we lost the first two but we are starting to gel,”
“I just think we want it. We were all obviously really upset with being relegated.”
“I think we all really want it a lot so everyone’s giving 100% and making those last-ditch tackles and headers and defending well from the front to the back.”
“The thing I like with Gouffran, last season he could easily have spat the dummy out, not trained well.
There seems a really good relationship between Rafa Benitez and his captain and Jamaal is very willing to learn under the expert and experienced eye of the Spanish manager.
Jamaal will continue to improve and this lad could become a top class center-back and sooner than we expect.
He does the simple things very well and he is a good leader both on and off the field.
And Rafa obviously rates him very highly to give the captaincy when he is still so young.
It all looks good to us right now – but the lads need to keep up the good work – and keep winning.
What do you think?