Not sure exactly how many Newcastle fans would agree with him but Jamaal Lascelles says he’d be ‘happy going into the Premier League with this team’.
The United Captain declares of the current group of players ‘we’re all talented’ and that everybody ‘works hard and plays for the badge, that’s what you need’.
Whilst the squad did prove more than good enough for the Championship last season, it is difficult to see anything but a relegation struggle unless Rafa Benitez brings in at least two or three players to raise the quality of the first team. Lascelles does say that he hopes a couple of other signings will come in to strengthen the team but surely bravado claiming the current set-up is good enough.
He has strengthened the squad hopefully with the likes of Atsu, Lejeune and the imminent confirmation of Manquillo as a fourth signing of the summer – but only Jacob Murphy is the real stand out signing who could potentially be a lot better than what the club/team already had. However, he has never played in the Premier League before and it could be a steep learning curve.
A lot of the time Jamaal Lascelles speaks well but in other moments he is prone to make grand statements which aren’t as yet really backed up.
The central defender says ‘it’s going to be completely different’ to when Newcastle were relegated two seasons ago, with this one now ‘a really tight group’.
A team playing for each other is a big help but you still need the quality and Lascelles comment about all of this current squad being ‘talented’ may be true…but how does it compare to the level of talent elsewhere in the Premier League?
West Ham flirted with relegation last season and now they are in the process of spending £40m on just two players, Arnautovic and Hernandez, Ironically, these are the signings in positions where Newcastle are most desperate – another quality goalscorer to go with Gayle and an attacking midfielder who can unlock the opposition – creating and scoring goals.
Hopefully Rafa Benitez has a number of options available to still bring in – if another two or three quality players aren’t brought in then it could be a long hard season, no matter how optimistic Jamaal Lascelles may be.
“It’s going to be completely different (to the 2015/16 relegation season), we are all focused and we’ve all got a goal – a really tight group and we’re all talented.
“Hopefully, the manager can bring in a couple more players to strengthen the team.
“I’d be happy going into the Premier League with this team – everyone’s disciplined and works hard and play for the badge, that’s what you need.
“We’ll see what else happens – we have got a good team anyway.
“It (an operation) needed to happen, I waited to the end of the season and I’m glad I did, so I was a part of the team that went up.
“I’m a different player now (after the groin operation) and I feel a lot sharper, I can move about better.
“At the start we didn’t know what the injury was and it was really hard for me, as the type of player I am – it’s about being physical and fast, using athleticism.
“If you take that away, which is what happened, I was struggling towards the end of the season.
“There are no excuses now, I’m fit and strong and I’m ready to get started.”