Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez reckons that Jamaal Lascelles is happy with life at Tyneside amidst speculation linking him with a move to Chelsea this summer. According to recent reports, the Spanish manager is confident that he will be able to fend off strong interest on his prized asset this summer.
The English defender has been in mesmerizing form for the Magpies during the course of this season and has been in a rock at the back for the Tyneside outfit this term. The 24-year-old has been instrumental in the Magpies’ recent run of positive results which has helped them put some distance between themselves and the relegation zone. Lascelles is now being tipped to make the cut in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup which kicks off later this year.
When asked to address the future of Lascelles, Benitez was quoted to have said, “He’s happy, training well, he’s improving, he’s focused.
“You can’t stop speculation about players, but I was talking with him for a while last week and the focus is just trying to improve his game.
“I think at the moment he knows he has to continue progressing and learning, but he is quite happy here.”
The Derby-born defender signed for Newcastle United from Nottingham Forest in the summer of 2014. However, he established his position in the Magpies first-team under the stewardship of Benitez and led the club to secure a promotion back to the Premier League last year.
The Tyneside outfit are currently in the 10th position in the league table with a tally of 41 points in 33 matches in the league. They recently secured a come from behind victory at home in their last league outing and are in great form to go on and clinch a top half finish this season.
Retaining some of their top talents like Lascelles could go a long way in helping them improve their league performance next term. The English defender has featured in 30 matches for the Magpies this season, scoring 3 goals in all competitions. At 24, he still has his peak years ahead of him which the Magpies could look to capitalise on in the coming years.
Lascelles is highly versatile and can in a number of different positions across the backline. He primarily operates as a central defender but can also play in the right-back position which makes him invaluable to this Newcastle United team. It remains to be seen what lies ahead in the future of Lascelles and whether the Magpies are able to hold on to his services beyond this summer.