Jamaal Lascelles has given a stunning interview after the crucial win over Swansea.
The young central defender made a lot of headlines this week, after it was revealed that he had told the other players that the performance at Southampton, as well as in general, was totally unacceptable.
The Newcastle centre-back then saying the same to the media when details emerged of the dressing room inquest, where Rafa Benitez had let them get on with it.
Moussa Sissoko wore the Captain’s armband against Swansea but fair to say that Jamaal Lascelles was the most impressive when it came to showing the right qualities in that respect yesterday.
If you are honest, Lascelles hasn’t really shown that much so far that tells you he will be the answer to Newcastle’s ongoing defensive problems but yesterday was a big step in the right direction.
After saying what he did, if the defender has stepped out onto the pitch and not stepped up his own game, then he would have been a sitting duck for the media today.
However, he produced a disciplined and committed performance that was capped by the game changing vital first goal. Which as he explains below, was all about his desire, come what may, to get on the end of the corner.
Good luck to him and how refreshing to hear what he has to say in this interview. Open and honest, with great leadership qualities and prepared to lead from the front.
Sad to say that Fabricio Coloccini as Captain has simply summed up the mess that has developed at Newcastle United.
Having a Captain who has poor personal form, has no impact on those around him on the pitch and then refuses to step in front of the cameras to represent the team and club, is simply unacceptable.
If Jamaal Lascelles form on the pitch can match his passionate words of wisdom off it, them we are onto a winner.
For now though, I’ll just enjoy the fact that the team won and just as importantly, at last played with the kind of pride in the shirt that should happen as a minimum every week.
Jamaal Lascelles talking to the club’s official tv channel:
“The players had a bit of a hard go last week in the dressing room after Southampton and we had a big reaction from it.
“The boys today played with heart, passion, desire and did exactly what fans wanted them to do. That has been the most frustrating thing this season, the talent is there but we just needed that heart and desire and that is why we got the three points.”
‘It was strong words from you but you put your money where your mouth is.’
“I was going to say it sooner or later and I think it was something that definitely needed to be said. Especially the position that we are in.
“Pleased to get the goal, I like to do my part for the team but more importantly I thought that we defended excellently. Great blocks that ould have turned into goals. The midfield worked really hard and we need that every single week – then clinical with our chances.
“I said to myself (on his goal), I’m just going to attack everything – if I get hit…if I hit somebody, I don’t care, it’s in their box. It fell to me and I think it hit my shoulder, a goal’s a goal. As a defender I’d rather keep a clean sheet than score, so really pleased with that as well.
“It puts us on the front foot for Tuesday (Man City) – the dressing room is buzzing now. I’m really pleased we have a game in a few days time, that’s what you need.”
“I saw today players who hadn’t really been doing it, they were organising, they were talking and showing leadership and character – that is what you need because those players are who you look up to.
“If you have 11 men on the pitch organising and talking, it makes you hard to break down.”
‘You are only young, still only 22, is leadership something you pride yourself on?’
“I’ve not really thought too much about it. I think it is just my character as a person but you know, in this dressing room we need someone, a character, because I think we have lacked it. I said it last week I think we have lacked it this season.
“I’m young but I don’t think that matters, I don’t care about experience and that, if you can talk you can talk, so do it.
“It’s had a big reaction on the other players and this is what we needed. I’m really pleased with them.”