Rafa Reveals This Decision On Future Star Was Not Very Difficult

Jamaal Lascelles had been injured in preseason, and new signing Florian Lejeune had been playing extremely well at center-back and was in the starting lineup for our first game against Tottenham at home last month.

But then Lejeune was injured in the first half of that game along with Paul Dummett, and in came Jamaal Lascelles and Chancel Mbemba and both have been regulars in the starting eleven ever since.

Chancel missed the win at Swansea through injury but was restored at left-back for the Stoke game on Saturday and he again looked the player we thought we had signed from Anderlecht two years ago.

Rafa Benitez gives Jamaal Lascelles instructions on Saturday

But it’s been Jamaal Lascelles who has been getting the headline for his two winning goals in the last two games plus he is showing real leadership both on and off the field.

Rafa Benitez has praised his young captain and he had this to say as reported in the Shields Gazette today:

“He’s taken the responsibility to work hard on the pitch and also be a leader by example,”

“That’s what you are expecting from every player, but especially the captain.”

“When I was thinking who can be captain, it was not very difficult.”

“Jamaal was quite good last year.”

“It’s another division, but I think he did well and I had confidence that he could do well again.”

When Rafa came to Newcastle on that magical day in March last year he quickly picked out Jamaal as a future star and soon Lascelles was playing in the first team and playing well too.

He was made captain last season and if he keeps improving like he has been under Rafa for 18 months, he will be captain and a Newcastle star for many years to come.

That would be something!

Comments welcome.

9 comments so far

  • Bobbybee

    Sep 19, 2017 at 8:51 AM

    Comment #1

    What a great dilemma for Rafa to have at the moment. Fair enough, we all realise what a numpty Shelvey can be when the red mist comes down, but we shouldn’t forget either that without him last season, chances are we would still be playing Championship football and Rafa would have moved on. When he was suspended, the team struggled. That much is undeniable.
    Merino comes in and we don’t miss Shelvey this suspension. After one game to get used to the PL at Huddersfield, he’s playing like he’s played there all his career.
    So now we have two excellent midfielders vying for one place and that is only going to benefit the team overall. The ideal situation would be finding a way of playing both, but I can’t see Rafa changing tack now. Interesting times.
    Ditto Mbemba and Dummett. Like Shelvey, Dummett was a guaranteed starter last season. Cops an injury and will now struggle to get his place back.
    And we’ve got Lejeune pressing for a place in the back four, keeping Lascelles and Clark working their socks off.
    For what many described as a disastrous window, it ain’t looking too bad just now. 🙂

  • martoon

    Sep 19, 2017 at 8:52 AM

    Comment #2

    Off topic – Can anybody explain to me why they are claiming the Man U fans Romelu Lukaku.chant is Racist. It references the size of his manhood so rude and possibly offensive I can see but Racist I’m puzzled?

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Sep 19, 2017 at 8:54 AM

    Comment #3

    If Richie can swing a corner in like in the last two games it doesn’t matter if a team man marks or uses zonal one of our players will get on the end of it !! Delivery and desire to get on the end of the cross means everything and a lot of teams in the premiership are just not up to the task of it defensively !

  • catchy in norway

    Sep 19, 2017 at 9:03 AM

    Comment #4

    he fits like a glove

  • Bobbybee

    Sep 19, 2017 at 9:03 AM

    Comment #5

    Mart, not heard it properly mate, but I presume it might have something to do with stereotyping? Bit of a stretch to call it racist if it is though.

    Lee, bang on mate. Delivery is the key. It does help if the defence is going to wait to see which ‘zone’ the ball is going to be in before making their move, but if the attacking side get a run into the area, a standing jump will always struggle against that, regardless of how the mark. Ritchie has been delivering some wicked crosses, this season especially.

  • martoon

    Sep 19, 2017 at 9:20 AM

    Comment #6

    Bobbybee – the story is here

    I think it is the racial stereotyping they are objecting to – I think ‘Kick it out’ have done a brilliant job but this seems to be a bit of an over-reaction.

  • JP...from The Rock

    Sep 19, 2017 at 9:24 AM

    Comment #7

    I love it how Rafa has made this team have squad depth. Even if Mbemba being impressive at LB was a fluke for him (as Rafa didn’t really rate him before) we still have all positions covered with an able option to make the position their own. We haven’t had this ever I think . And it’s is crucial for any successful team especially ours knowing our constant injuries. We finally have squad depth and in January or summer we only really need to improve on ST, CAM, LB, LW and GK. We do that and we are flying. If only Ashley could see the error of his ways and hand Rafa a massive transfer kitty we would be sorted next summer. And could really challenge for a top 8 finish.

  • Ron Knee

    Sep 19, 2017 at 9:29 AM

    Comment #8
  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Sep 19, 2017 at 10:30 AM

    Comment #9

    Morning Ron…


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