Jamaal Lascelles has had two good seasons as Newcastle captain, both as a leader and a player.
While he was not always at his best in the Championship, we learned when we were promoted that he had been playing with a groin problem since October 2016.
As soon as we were technically promoted last year he had surgery to fix the problem – that’s the level of commitment this lad has for Newcastle.
It also shows how much Rafa rates him as a player and as a leader in Newcastle’s team.
Last season was his best so far, and he proved he is at least Premier league level and has been pushing for an England place.
Jamaal Lascelles in action against West Brom
Rafa Benitez has also said he is not available for transfer and put a whopping £30M transfer fee on his head.
What Newcastle will do if a club comes in with a massive offer for Jamaal remains to be seen, but we expect Jamaal to be with Rafa at Newcastle for years to come.
We hope that’s true at least.
But Lascelles will have to fight for his place next season – like any other player in the Newcastle squad.
With Chancel Mbemba likely to be transferred this summer Rafa will bring in another center-back so he will join Jamaal, Ciaran Clark and Florian Lejeune in fighting for the two central defensive positions.
It’s a change at Newcastle when players are desperate to stay and be part of the Rafalution going on at the club.
When you are a manager of any group, you can judge how successful the group is being managed.
When it’s not well-managed people want to leave – when it’s well-run people want to stay – it’s really as simple as that.
Mr. Benitez has transformed Newcastle since he arrived on March 11th, 2016 and the club’s hierarchy should wake up, pinch themselves and then sign this man up for the next ten years.
But they are dragging their feet as they have always done under Mike Ashley.
We hope this tremendous opportunity to make Newcastle great again is not lost through stupidity from the top.
Jack Farish is currently studying for a Master’s degree in sport and exercise psychology at Northumbria University.
His thesis project looks at Premier League fans’ team identification – how well they support and identify with their team.
Jack has put together a relatively short questionnaire of team identification and satisfaction with life; it should take no longer than 10 minutes.
You can help Jack by filling out the survey here.