Jamaal Lascelles’ classy response to being left out of Newcastle United starting XI

Jamaal Lascelles was appointed Newcastle United captain by Rafa Benitez in 2016.
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Jamaal Lascelles knows his Newcastle United captaincy requires leadership off the pitch, as well as on it.

And that sentiment has become even truer in recent months with the 28-year-old finding himself outside of Eddie Howe’s starting XI.

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After illness forced the central defender to miss the Magpies’ 1-0 victory over Aston Villa on February 13, Lascelles has started just one of the previous six games.

Indeed, that is mostly down to the excellent form of January signing Dan Burn, plus the consistency of Fabian Schar alongside him.

Being out of the side can be difficult for any player, especially as club captain, but Lascelles has stayed professional and focused on driving his teammates on in other ways.

Lascelles said: “I have a really good relationship with the manager. We speak a lot.

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“We both know my last game was against Everton at home and we won. He hasn’t dragged me out of the team because I was playing badly or my performances weren’t good enough.

“I’m happy the team are playing well and it’s not just my job as captain to drive the team on the pitch, it’s about what happens at the training ground, drive what the manager wants in training.

“I just want to see us climb up the table.”

The Magpies, of course, have moved up the Premier League table since the turn of the year with a nine-game unbeaten - which included six wins out of seven - opened up a nine-point gap over the relegation places.

With the likes of Kieran Trippier, Chris Wood and Burn arriving in January, the number of strong voices in the Newcastle dressing room has only increased.

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Lascelles believes that is a stark contrast to previous dressing room during his six-and-a-half-years at St James’ Park.

Lascelles admitted: “There’s been times here, years here, where I’ve found it difficult, trying to keep the dressing room together, keep relationships, keep things positive.

“But now, when you’ve got five, six or seven players all doing that, it just makes my job so much easier.

“A lot of the stuff I do isn’t necessarily on the pitch at St James’. It’s on the training ground.

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“You look at the bigger teams back in the day, they’d have a group of players.

“You look at Man U, they’d have a group of players, lieutenants I guess. I think we’ve got that at the minute, like a leadership group. I think that’s a real good thing for the team.”

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