The trend may have slowed in recent years, but Newcastle United have supplied England with international stars throughout their storied existence.

The Magpies’ talents were particularly evident as the Three Lions qualified for six consecutive major tournaments for the first time between 1996 and 2006 and included at least one Newcastle player in each finals squad.

Seven different United players represented England across the three European Championships and three World Cups, but injury dictated that Jonathan Woodgate was not among them.

Still, at a club renowned as much for its dodgy defenders as for its exciting front line, Woodgate is notable as the last Newcastle centre back to collect a senior England cap.

Michael Owen, Andy Carroll and Andros Townsend followed Alan Shearer in starring for club and country, but Titus Bramble and Steven Taylor both failed to fulfil their potential at the other end of the pitch.

That miserable run should end with Jamaal Lascelles.

Jonjo Shelvey, Jacob Murphy and Dwight Gayle perhaps seemed more likely candidates for an international call-up at the start of the season, with Lascelles then not even guaranteed a starting spot, but the 24-year-old is undoubtedly now the Magpies’ most important player.

Newcastle face relegation rivals Swansea City at St James’ Park on Saturday, against whom Lascelles has played two, won two, scored two and conceded none.

The Swans may be Lascelles’ favourite opponent, but the level of his performances – and their impact – has been unwavering this season: Newcastle concede a goal every 108 minutes when their captain plays, versus a goal every 34 minutes when he does not.

Most people are aware of the incredible statistics by now; what remains impressive is how Lascelles has maintained them. There has been no peak and no trough, just consistency.

This form cannot go unnoticed and, although Lascelles continues to wait for his England debut, the United man will surely surpass Woodgate’s measly total of eight caps and could well find himself on the plane to Russia this summer.

Meanwhile, Newcastle must hope Real Madrid do not come calling…

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