A lot of questions have been asked of Jamaal Lascelles lately.
The captain looks a shadow of his former self, and was particularly poor on Monday night against Chelsea.
Despite his best efforts, he somehow managed to avoid giving away a penalty against the Blues.
Lascelles has often been one of Newcastle’s most reliable defenders. But that hasn’t been the case this season – actually, ever since Steve Bruce arrived.
The defender was one of multiple Toon players to struggle against Chelsea.
Particularly in the first half, the Magpies were passive as they allowed the home side to dominate proceedings.
There was a slight improvement in the second half, and that might be because of an outburst from Lascelles.
According to the Chronicle, he demanded more from his teammates as harsh words were exchanged in the dressing room.
While his performances haven’t been good enough, this is the kind of thing we want to see from Lascelles.
He’s the captain, and leads by example. If people aren’t pulling their weight, they need to be told.
It’s this kind of thing that endeared Lascelles to the Toon Army in the first place.
He reportedly had a lot to say in the dressing room prior to our last relegation, whilst there’s also been a training ground ‘bust-up’ with Mo Diame in the past.
The captain’s words clearly made a difference as there was an improvement in the second half, but not enough to salvage anything from the game.
Newcastle will need to be at it from the first minute against Manchester United, otherwise some players will be getting another earful from the skipper.
Hopefully Lascelles can lead by example too, and at least come back to the north east with a point.