With Newcastle United desperately needing motivation and leadership, captain Jamaal Lascelles must step up and get the Magpies back on track. Now that he’s back in the squad, the 27-year-old central defender will be counted on to help put a stop to this nine-match winless run.
Lascelles has battled Covid-19 and is only recently getting back into the lineup. He wasn’t at his best vs. Arsenal yesterday, including struggling to slow down Emile Smith Rowe on the second goal.
But, while his play is important to the club, his leadership skills may be more valuable right now. The club is just going through the motions with very little energy or excitement on the pitch. Lascelles needs to keep the players engaged and focused on getting results.
If the Magpies are going to avoid relegation, which is growing more likely by the day, Lascelles will need to play a major role down the stretch. It may not always be welcome, but he will need to light a fire under his teammates when the energy and effectiveness are not where they need to be. Throughout the season, a one-goal deficit typically turns into two or more rather than pulling level. That’s where a leader on the pitch needs to step up and get things turned around.
Steve Bruce has clearly struggled to get through to this team this season, especially recently. While Lascelles shouldn’t lead a mutiny against the manager, the captain might need to step in and become the primary voice in the dressing room.
We’ve seen Lascelles step up in the past, whether it was an issue on or off the pitch, since arriving at the club. Rafa Benitez trusted him enough to give him the captaincy despite his youth at the time. Now, he needs to prove that he can be the leader that Newcastle United desperately need right now.