Jamaal Lascelles has been one of the success stories of the season so far and ever since Rafa Benitez came in last March 11th he almost immediately saw the potential and leadership of Jamaal and started playing him in the first team.
That was a huge change from the way Steve McClaren had handled him and basically Jamaal never got a look-in with the hapless McClaren.
Rafa even made Jamaal the captain in the summer when he was only 22 and that was after Jamaal had shown real leadership in adversity last season – especially that episode at half time when we were being taken apart at Southampton.
Rafa Benitez and Jamaal Lascelles
Jamaal called out more senior players who didn’t say a word at the break – good for him.
One player – now departed – even broke his hand on the wall – and that didn’t help anything or anybody.
Jamaal seems to epitomize the new player at Newcastle – completely committed and willing to do whatever Rafa tells them to do – such is the presence, experience and single-minded professionalism of the world-class manager we have at Newcastle.
This is what Jamaal has said today as reported in the Chronicle:
“We have had a few blips, but we don’t panic. We know what type of boss we have and what type of players we have here.”
“We’re half way through the season and we are still playing good football.” “Rafa Benitez is a very experienced manager.”
“He’s managed at the very top level so whatever he says we agree with and back him up. We’ll give our all.”
“With the players we have, there is talent but also we have people who care, they want to work hard.”
“We have a really balanced group and a massive squad with depth.”
“I’ve come along way from not even being in the team to travelling with the team to being captain.”
“I have kicked on, I hope I am just at the start of it. Loads has changed, players come and go and there’s different staff.”
“Rafa Benitez is the boss now so the club are on the way up.” “If we keep winning games it’ll keep improving.”
“With the players we have they are great on the pitch but also in the changing room and in and around the building.”
“There’s not one player that doesn’t get involved.” “We go for team meals and I think that’s really important and it carries onto the pitch.”
Lascelles has now made 51 appearances for Newcastle (30 this season) with three goals and he looks to have a stellar future ahead of him as he leads Newcastle forward with the expert guidance from Rafa Benitez.
There’s no reason with a little bit of luck that in a year’s time we could even be doing well in the Premier League.
But hey – first things first – we must get promoted this season – that’s the only thing that matters at the moment.