Newcastle United have a bit of a delicate situation on their hands.
Club captain Jamaal Lascelles has reportedly had a training ground ‘bust-up’ with teammate Matt Ritchie.
The Englishmen, as reported by the Daily Mail, supposedly had a disagreement over tactics and had to be separated by teammates on the training pitch.
Apparently the winger was unhappy with Lascelles ‘voicing his disapproval’.
This comes after Lascelles also expressed his concerns to manager Rafa Benitez.
MORE NEWCASTLE STORIES
Some thought that that played a part in his absence agains Chelsea, although the player tweeted that he had ‘a slight ankle injury’.
Newcastle must now handle the situation with care
The fact that a problem has arisen with Lascelles and this early in the season is a concern.
The 24-year-old is by far and away the club’s best defender and also the captain.
Club insiders may have moved to downplay Lascelles’ unhappiness, but the situation is not ideal.
It’ll be extremly important now for Benitez to keep him onside.
With goalscoring a big problem, Newcastle have extra need for defensive solidity; which he absolutely brings.
The Magpies need Lascelles playing week in week out; he is a fantastic organiser and keeps Newcastle much tighter at the back when he plays.
Losing Lascelles would mean relegation dogfight
Newcastle don’t have a huge amount of quality in their squad – no thanks, of course, to owner Mike Ashley.
There’s a chance that the club could become involved in a relegation battle this season, and not having Lascelles in the team would almost certainly spell a dogfight.
It’s going to be crucial for Benitez to keep the skipper happy.
Especially with West Ham having bid for the defender this summer (according to Sky Sports).
It’s a tricky situation because Benitez is the manager and his word is obviously final, but Lascelles’ importance to the team cannot be overstated.