Players who play in central defense sometimes get their initial first team experience as full-backs, since mistakes made on the flanks are usually less costly than those made in the middle of the defense.
But 23 year-old Jamaal Lascelles has been a starter for Newcastle all season and he’s played some very good games, but he’s also had a few dodgy moments as the former Nottingham Forest defender will attest to.
But Rafa Benitez has huge confidence in this player, who three years or so ago looked like was a future England International.
He’s played for all the England Youth sides from U18 through U21.
Rafa Benitez and Jamaal Lascelles in training
Once Rafa has coached him for another year or two that promise may be fulfilled.
One of the great things about Jamaal is his attitude – he’s a positive lad who wants to improve as much as he can – and he listens intently to everything Rafa tells him.
In fact Ciaran Clark, our other starter in central defense, has had a stellar season showing his best form in years and we always thought Ciaran was a classy player at Aston Villa.
This is what Jamaal Lascelles has said in the Chronicle today:
“I am still young, still 23. I still have a lot to improve on.” “I know that, everybody knows that, the manager knows that.”
“But I am a listener and a learner. I will always work hard.” “With a great manager like Rafa Benitez, I am sure I will improve.”
“I want to help take this massive club as high as we possibly can.” “That’s our goal. The first one of the week was to win and get promoted against Preston.”
“We’ve done that, now we are going to Cardiff to put pressure on Brighton to get first place.” “It’s going to be tough and we are relying on what they do.”
“But at the same time we are going to prepare on our game and what we can do.”
Jamaal is a very honest lad and a good young captain of Newcastle United, which is a massive responsibility for a 23 year-old with currently only limited experience but huge potential.