More Than One Skipper At Newcastle

Last updated : 14 January 2017 By Footy Mad - Editor

Jamaal Lascelles has revealed that he is not only the Newcastle United captain, but also Rafa Benitez’s go-between for the rest of the Magpies squad.

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The former Nottingham Forest centre-back was handed the armband by Benitez over the summer, despite being just 22 years of age at the time, after impressing the Spaniard with his leadership skills.

But, not only is Lascelles the Spaniard’s on-field lieutenant, but the ex-England Under-21 international also enjoys a close relationship with Benitez off the pitch as well.

Benitez - who Lascelles described as the “best manager” he’s ever had - regularly calls his skipper into his office and asks the 23-year-old defender to pass messages on to the rest of the squad.

“I am always in his office,” Lascelles replied when asked about his captain-manager relationship with Benitez.

“He calls me in, passes messages to the players, talks about what we can do in games and training.

“He is an easy person to speak to. He can have a laugh but knows the time to work.

“If someone isn’t pulling their weight he will stop training and say: ‘You should have done this’.

“He puts things in your head to think about - he is the best manager I have had.”

After long-time captain Fabricio Coloccini left Tyneside for a return to Argentina over the summer, Benitez decided to test out a few potential candidates to succeed the former Magpies centre-back during pre-season.

And Lascelles was not only given the armband during every pre-season fixture as part of his trial to become skipper, he was also asked questions and given tasks by the Spaniard.

“I thought he did test me a few times,” Lascelles added.

“A few pre-season games he asked me questions.

“He asked a few of the boys too about me being captain and the boys backed me, said I talked, was a big character.

“The modern captain leads by example rather than the dirty work of talking to players and digging them out, but if you have a balance and can do both it is idea.

“Earning the respect of players is hard.

“I am 23. Telling Daryl Murphy and Matt Ritchie who have been there and done it, what to do, shouting at them, I am pretty sure when I am 30 I won’t have a 23-year-old talking to me like that!

“Sometimes I think I wouldn’t have it, but it is just the person you are.”

No Magpie has made a greater number of appearances so far this season than Lascelles, who has played in all-bar one of United’s Championship matches.

The centre-back has largely been exempt from Benitez’s famed rotation policy, something Lascelles believes could be down to how vocal he is out on the field.

“I would rather play as long as I am fit,” Lascelles added.

“When I get picked I’ll play my hardest.

“I talk a lot and before games I am on to the players and talking and shouting.

“Maybe he wants me in there for that reason too.”