Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe has praised Magpies captain Jamaal Lascelles for the way he has led despite being out of the side.
Lascelles returned to the starting line-up in Sunday’s 1-0 defeat to Chelsea in a three-man defence alongside Dan Burn and Fabian Schar.
After missing the 1-0 win against Aston Villa at St James’ Park through illness, the club captain has struggled to reclaim his place in the side such has been the strong performances of Burn and Schar.
Prior to the loss at Stamford Bridge, the 28-year-old had played just seven minutes across the last four games with him being an unused substitute on three occasions.
Howe says Lascelles has been ‘spot on’
Ahead of tomorrow night’s trip to Everton, Eddie Howe was asked in his pre-match press conference how Lascelles has reacted to the disappointment of being left out of the side while playing the role of captain.
Howe said: “His attitude has been spot on. He’s obviously our captain and he’s led like a captain even in a difficult moment for him because he would want to play every game.
“I always think that’s a true test of a leader is in the difficult moments and I think Jamaal has been absolutely superb – he’s been positive in the changing room before the game, during training – I cannot speak highly enough of his reaction to that.
“Let’s not forget it is only because he got a sickness bug that he missed a game and the two guys came together and have done very well since then, so it’s not a reflection on his performances because again against Chelsea I thought he was excellent.”
Depending on injuries and how Howe decides to set his side up at Goodison Park, it’s hard to justify Lascelles playing ahead of Schar or Burn currently.
But if the former Bournemouth man does opt to stick with the same 5-4-1 formation then Lascelles will likely keep his place in the side.
It was unfortunate timing for Lascelles that him falling ill coincided with Burn making his debut and hitting the ground running alongside Schar.
Jamaal Lascelles will be well aware, like several members of the Newcastle squad, that PIF are likely to go big in the summer window which will likely see him fall down the pecking order. It could also see him potentially replaced as club captain.
- 'That helps': Matt Targett thinks one Newcastle player will benefit most from Saudi Arabia trip
- What Graeme Jones keeps telling Newcastle players during Saudi Arabia training session
- Report: Dan Ashworth first eyed £600k player at Brighton, then signed him for Newcastle
- Report: NUFC now have the opportunity to sign ‘unbelievable’ 17-year-old who's a manager’s dream
- ‘Special’ Newcastle target shares message suggesting his current price-tag, would be a bargain