Rafa Benitez when he arrived at Newcastle almost two years ago he quickly picked out Jamaal Lascelles as not only a good young player but a strong leader.
He quickly impressed Rafa, and it wasn’t long before Jamaal was a regular in the team that just failed to avoid relegation two years ago.
Jamaal was named the captain in the summer of 2016 even though he was only 22 old at the time.
He then helped to lead Newcastle back to the Premier League at the very first attempt last season.
He had a good season even though he was playing with a slight groin injury from October of 2016, and as soon as we were sure mathematically of promotion he had surgery on his groin.
That showed Newcastle fans the level of commitment of this young player and Newcastle play better and are more robust in defense with Lascelles in the side.
Jamaal Lascelles – Newcastle captain
Rafa is a big fan, but he thinks the England U21 International can still improve and maybe become an England International.
This is what Rafa has said as reported today in the Shields Gazette:
“Always I say the same, he has plenty of room for improvement.”
“He has a great attitude. He’s working on his leadership as a captain, so I think it’s quite positive for the team.”
“Still, he can improve things.”
“But in terms of mentality, character, he’s someone who is going in the right direction, and that’s the main thing for us and the club.”
“That’s because you don’t have too many center-backs around with this presence and this character.”
“If he continues learning things, he can be an important player in England.”
“If he can improve a lot during these months – and I’m sure he will continue improving – you never know (he could make England squad for World Cup).”
“He’s not now in the squad, but if they have a couple of problems, maybe he could be there.” “But, to have a chance to do that, he has to continue working hard and improving.”
“He’s someone who has great potential because he’s keen to learn in every training session.”
“He has to improve because he’s always open to hear and then trying to follow your advice if you’re telling him something.”
“We’re clever enough to understand the difference is very small in points. “There are only a few points between six teams, which is not too much.”
“In two games, everything can change.”
We are just two points above the relegation zone on 22 points from our 22 games, and we need a win today against bottom club Swansea City at home who have only 16 points.