Jamaal Lascelles says he’s big shoulder to shoulder the responsibility of captaining Newcastle United.
The defender has ably skippered Rafa Benitez’s side in pre-season.
And Benitez is considering appointing the 22-year-old as captain on a full-time basis after the summer departure of Fabricio Coloccini.
Moussa Sissoko and Jonjo Shelvey also wore the skipper’s armband last season.
But Lascelles – who has experience of the Championship from his time at former club Nottingham Forest – is favourite to lead the team in English football’s second tier.
Asked about captaining the team, the England Under-21 international said: “Honestly, it’s the best feeling ever, especially when a manager such as Rafa Benitez gives you it.
“I’m really proud to wear it. Whoever he decides to pick at the start of the season, it’s totally fine, and I’ll back him up.
“But I’d love to take it on the responsibility. Obviously, it would be a massive weight on my shoulders, but there’s no reason why I can’t deal with it.”
Newcastle take on Southend United at Roots Hall tonight in their penultimate pre-season friendly.
United – who came from behind to draw 2-2 with Doncaster Rovers last week – beat Sporting Lokeren 4-0 at the weekend, and Lascelles felt the team’s performance in Belgium was a big improvement on that at the Keepmoat Stadium.
“I was very pleased with the team,” said Lascelles.
“I thought the game against Doncaster prepared us for this game. We know we didn’t go there and perform the way we should have.
“Maybe we got a bit complacent, which can’t happen.
“I think we had the right head on and had the right mentality.
“We were really sharp, both going forwards and defending. They’re a good team. Ayo (Perez) was excellent with the goals he scored and we were solid at the back and got the clean sheet.”