Jamaal Lascelles has been outstanding this season, both as a captain and a player.
Rafa Benitez has regularly said that the central defender is his key man in taking the messages and lessons learnt onto the pitch.
Despite the magnificent job the manager has done with limited resources, there has now been a stand-off for around a month, with Mike Ashley so far unwilling to agree to what Rafa needs to progress the club.
This morning it was revealed that Rafa Benitez could walk away if the club’s owner doesn’t see sense, the manager having asked for a decent transfer budget this summer, but most importantly, the freed to do with it as he sees fit. Previous reports that Rafa had been able to do as he wanted in the transfer market, now contradicted, with confirmation that a number of transfers had not gone ahead due to Mike Ashley blocking them, last summer in particular.
Rafa Benitez has also put plans to Mike Ashley for essential work in getting the constantly failing Academy sorted, as well as work that must be done to improve facilities at the training ground, which are far inferior to those at other PL clubs.
Jamaal Lascelles in an exclusive with Sky Sports, has now said: ‘I can’t emphasise how important it is [that Mike Ashley gives Rafa Benitez what he wants and the manager stays at Newcastle].’
The Newcastle captain credits the manager with making him the player he is now and declares: ‘Since he’s been here, the club has been on the rise. He’s got the club together, the city together, and everything has been positive.’
It is obvious to pretty much everybody, even pundits who normally do Newcastle down, that Rafa Benitez leaving Newcastle would be a disaster for the club, and that it is beyond belief that Mike Ashley doesn’t accept this reality.
Jamaal Lascelles sending the message to Mike Ashley: ‘You have got to do all you can to hold onto him.’
Jamaal Lascelles talking to Sky Sports:
“I can’t emphasise how important it is [that Mike Ashley gives Rafa Benitez what he wants and the manager stays at Newcastle].
“Since he’s been here, the club has been on the rise. He’s got the club together, the city together, and everything has been positive.
“The players love him, a manager of that level who has been at big clubs and won trophies, you have got to do all you can to hold onto him. Look how he’s got us playing.
“People say we wouldn’t gel together and we’re a Championship side, well if that’s the case then the manager has got us all together and we’re sat in the middle of the table.
“As players, we’ve got to cross the white line, but we follow instructions from somewhere and that is the gaffer. The club have got to keep him happy.
“I can’t thank Rafa enough for how much I’ve improved, not only as a player but as a captain.
“I think I’ve come on leaps and bounds in that aspect, how to deal with things differently; he pulls me aside and says you can’t always be this way, you’ve got to adapt to different people’s personalities – he’s worked with Steven Gerrard, Cristiano Ronaldo and John Terry.
“When you’re flicking through Twitter or people say there’s rumours about this, that and the other you’re aware of it, but I don’t take any notice.
“I’m a Newcastle player, I’m happy here, I’m the captain and things are going really well.
“You hear about rumours, but I’m just concentrating on Newcastle.”