Jamaal Lascelles is in a race to be fit for Saturday’s game against Bournemouth, but some fans are already calling for him to be benched for Fabian Schar.

Schar replaced Lascelles for the final 45 minutes of Newcastle’s win against Watford last weekend.

The Swiss international looked an assured presence at the back and excited fans with his ability to start attacks from defence.

(Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

Naturally supporters are keen to see Schar given more game time as he was a key player in the team’s first win in 11 matches.

But can Rafa Benitez realistically bench Newcastle’s captain after one decent half of football from Schar?

Lascelles’ current form

It’s important to note that Lascelles has looked strong for the early part of the season, and to bench him would be fairly harsh.

After some light training this week, it’s looking like he will be fit to start against Bournemouth after recovering from a shoulder injury.

He has started almost every game this season. The Magpies have only conceded an impressive 14 goals so far, two of which came against Chelsea, the only team the defender did not feature against.

(Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)

Only six teams in the league have conceded less, showing how strong Newcastle’s back line have been.

Lascelles has been a huge part of that and is one of Newcastle’s few leaders on the pitch.

He is in the top 10 players in the entire league for both clearances and headed clearances this season. And he is also in the top 20 for aerial battles won.

It’s a testament to how commanding he has been for the Toon when defending crosses and balls from deep.

But despite his form, many fans would still prefer to see Schar replace the skipper.

What Schar offers

It’s unclear whether Schar is defensively as strong as Lascelles as he has yet to be given much game time.

But one thing he offers that the Englishmen doesn’t, is calmness and efficiency going forward.

The Swiss defender is known for his passing ability and is highly rated for his national side.

He was even named in the UEFA Nations League Team of the Week last month for his Switzerland performances.

(Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

But it still wasn’t enough to turn Rafa’s head.

However fans will now be putting pressure on Benitez to play Schar more often after his showing against Watford.

The manager will be wary that this is the first glimpse of quality the centre-back has shown, and in just 45 minutes of football.

Many supporters have been quick to forget his performance in the 3-1 Carabao cup loss to Nottingham Forest.

The defender was heavily criticised for his lacklustre defending that evening, which played a big part in Forest’s first two goals and would ultimately see the Toon knocked out.

Such is Rafa’s tactics, the manager is likely to continue to ease Schar into the team until he can prove he is as capable a defender as Lascelles.

Fans on Lascelles and Schar

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