Jamaal Lascelles is staying as Newcastle United captain.
That’s what manager Eddie Howe has said, confirming that the 28-year-old will continue to lead the Magpies squad. He will also ‘definitely‘ be staying at St James’ Park, having been linked with a move away.
Lascelles has had a strange 2022 so far as a Newcastle player, and now finds himself as the club’s fourth choice centre-back.
Dan Burn’s January arrival and immediate form meant he dropped to the bench, and now Sven Botman has signed for the club.
It led to speculation that Lascelles could be sold. However, that won’t be happening. And despite not being a guaranteed starter, he’s keeping the captain’s armband as well.
Taking the captaincy off of Lascelles would’ve been a mistake
Throughout the second half of last season, there were calls for Howe to officially change his captain.
This was caused by the arrival of Kieran Trippier, who quickly established himself as a leader at St James’ Park. He also had the performances to back it up, and even captained the side against Aston Villa back in February.
Some supporters wanted the 31-year-old to become Newcastle’s full-time skipper, but that won’t be happening. It’s a decision that might disappoint some fans, but it makes complete sense.
Why upset squad harmony with such a huge change? Lascelles is clearly doing something right off the pitch, otherwise Howe would’ve made a change.
But the manager has spoke highly of Lascelles’ leadership time and time again, especially since he hasn’t been playing as much.
Taking the armband off of Lascelles and giving it to someone else while the defender remained at the club would have been a recipe for disaster. It would have killed Lascelles’ confidence.
And just because Trippier isn’t the official captain doesn’t mean he is any less of a leader. He will likely lead the team out if Lascelles doesn’t play.
In fact, Newcastle have plenty leaders. In the recent past we’ve seen Callum Wilson, Martin Dubravka, Jonjo Shelvey and Fabian Schar all captain the Magpies.
The more leaders the better. It means more accountability from the players, and people taking responsibility.
Whether he plays 30 times, four times or zero times, keeping Lascelles as club captain is absolutely the right decision by Howe.