Jamaal Lascelles is finally starting to feel like a Newcastle United player – 12 months after he joined the club.
Lascelles made his long-awaited debut for the Magpies on Friday night in the friendly win against Gateshead.
It was a while coming, with the defender having initially signed from Nottingham Forest last summer along with goalkeeper Karl Darlow, only for the pair to be loaned straight back to the Championship club.
Now he’s eager to make up for lost time and establish himself as a first-team player.
“It was excellent,” Lascelles said of his debut.
“It’s always been a dream to play to play in the Premier League and putting on a Newcastle top for the first team in a game was fantastic for me.
“When I signed I got loaned straight back and that was kind of weird.
“It didn’t really feel like I was a proper Newcastle player at the time.
“Now I am pleased to be here, pleased to be training with the boys and I was buzzing to pull the shirt on.”
Lascelles played the first half of the 1-0 win over Gateshead before jetting out to the USA yesterday morning with the rest of the Newcastle squad for their pre-season tour.
He was pleased to get the first run-out under his belt as he looked to build on his fitness ahead of the new campaign.
“It was more like a training game but you have to take it as a proper match,” he added.
“The boys were excellent, they moved the ball really well and we got a lot of fitness out of it too. That will help us in America.
“I’m really looking forward to it. I am trying to get as much game time as I can.
“Training is so much different to match time fitness.
“It was only 45 minutes at Gateshead but hopefully I will get some minutes out there to add to it.”
A few members of the Newcastle squad have spoken of boss Steve McClaren’s desire to play a possession-based game this season, which was evident in the game against Gateshead.
And Lascelles believes there’s no reason that, with the quality the Magpies have in their ranks, they can’t deliver an attractive style of play.
“The minute we walked in, Steve McClaren got us in and we had a meeting,” the 21-year-old centre-half added. “He told us how he wanted to play.
“He wants to get the ball popping around and hopefully we can carry that on into the season because that’s what he wants.
“He has high expectations and high demands.
“With the players we’ve got, there is no reason why we can’t do what he asks.”