Rafa Benitez this summer will bring in Premier League experienced players as he builds a new team to do battle in the Premier League next season.
Rafa has said he could be bringing in as many as eight senior players as he is determined to greatly increase the competition for places in almost every position at the club.
Jamaal Lascelles – this player has leadership and plenty of guts
Captain Jamaal Lascelles had a good season last term and made the Championship Team of the Season.
But he and a number of other regulars last season will see their starting position come under threat once Rafa has finished bringing in his transfer targets this summer.
This is what the captain has said in the Chronicle today:
“It’s been a relentless year. Training every day and two games a week.”
“We’re a very young team. We have a great set of lads on and off the field.” “We’re a very tight group. That has definitely helped us this season.”
“It would be nice to see people are staying.” “Obviously, though, whatever the manager decides to do is the right thing because he’s the boss.”
“It’s nice. For years the fans haven’t been that happy here.” “All season though they were overwhelmed and it’s excellent we’ve done that for them.”
“Hopefully, we can have a good pre-season. And we can start off in the big boy league properly.”
“It was one of the best feelings I’ve had in football. It’s something you never think you’ll do.” “And the way it happened with us winning our game and the late equalizer down at Aston Villa.”
“It built up some real tension. To hear our fans enjoy that moment showed how much it means to them.”
“We’re just all grateful we could give them something back because they’ve been excellent.”
“It’s been tough. There have been a lot of ups and downs.” “I will always try to play through pain.”
“Sometimes it doesn’t do me any favours, but the main thing was we lifted the trophy.” “That was our goal and that’s what we’ve done.”
“It’s nice to get a little break to spend time with the family.” “All that weight and pressure is off your shoulders.”
“I’ll have a good month relaxing and chilling. then I’ll be back running and getting sharp for pre-season.”
Those are really good comments from the Newcastle captain who obviously understands the deep frustrations of Geordie fans over the last 10 years of complete underachievement.
And Jamaal Lascelles had a few games, especially later in the season, when he didn’t play well at all and looked off the pace and even clumsy at times.
Then a few weeks before the season ended and we had achieved promotion, it was revealed he had been playing through the pain barrier with a groin problem since last October.
It’s that kind of guts and determination that has made Jamaal a fan favorite on Tyneside and why Rafa made him the captain last summer.
Jamaal had the groin problem completely fixed by surgery the week before the end of the Championship season, after he had managed to play through the pain barrier until Newcastle had achieved their promotion.
Jamaal knows he will need to keep improving his game and be at his very best next season, if he is to continue to hold down a regular starting position at the club.
That goes for every other starter last season too.