Jamaal Lascelles reveals Matt Ritchie's important Newcastle United role

Newcastle United will be led by a ‘leadership group’ this season - relieving the pressure off club captain Jamaal Lascelles.

By Joe Buck
Thursday, 4th August 2022, 8:00 pm

Lascelles was named Newcastle United captain by Rafa Benitez ahead of the 2016/17 Championship season and has retained the armband ever since.

Following Benitez’s departure from the club, both Steve Bruce and Eddie Howe recognised the 28-year-old’s leadership credentials and the key role he plays both on and off the field at the club.

As one of the first names on the team sheet, Lascelles was the obvious choice to be given the armband in 2016 and although he found himself on the fringes of the first-team last year, he’s revealed that he retains the full support of his manager:

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - JULY 30: Newcastle manager Eddie Howe (l) and Matt Ritchie applaud the fans after the pre season friendly match between Newcastle United and Athletic Bilbao at St James' Park on July 30, 2022 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

“[Being out of the team] was new to me because I’ve always played here.” Lascelles said.

“The manager has been fantastic in the way he went about that in terms of his communication with me - and the rest of the staff as well.

“We’ve created a ‘leadership group’ at Newcastle and we’ve got some really good leaders in the team which makes my job easier because for years, as a 22-year-old captain, I was having to do a lot - probably too much and maybe it was too much to take on.

“But now I’ve got a great team around me with the leadership group and the manager has taken a weight off my shoulders as well and I think that’s important.”

Now heading into his seventh season as skipper, Lascelles has revealed that although he was the man with the armband, he relied on one of his teammates in particular to help lead the side and is now relishing the chance to spread the responsibility our across the team:

“For years I’ve leaned on Matt Ritchie who’s kind of been my right hand man in the sense of leadership in the team.”

“Now we’ve got the likes of Callum Wilson, Kieran Trippier and Dan Burn so there’s three or four of us.

“We’re pretty strong characters to make decisions for the team and I think that if you look, a lot of other teams do that and it’s probably the best way to go about things.”

Newcastle United face Lascelles’ former side Nottingham Forest at St James’s Park on Saturday.