Lascelles for England? Why not?

Words by Adam Johnson

Jamaal Lascelles ought to be on many Premier League teams transfer lists this January. All due to his outstanding and commanding performances.

The skippers showing in a black and white shirt this season have been second to none. With the World Cup looming, I don’t see why Lascelles doesn’t have a good chance of getting a well deserved England spot.

‘Hunger’, ‘passion’, ‘leader’ and ‘consistency’ are a few examples of words used by his many admirers this season. Lascelles has been criticised in the past. Described as ‘too slow’, ‘not good enough’ and ‘no where near the standard of the Premier League’. Many, including myself, were questioning his ability to step up against the big boys this season. Not many, if any, were expecting the influence he’s had on United during the campaign.

Lascelles was prone to mistakes in the Championship, costing Newcastle United crucial points. The skipper was dropped for a short period last season because of the positions he put himself in, due to his poor distribution of the ball. Consistency was a word I plucked out from a selection of adjectives that people used to describe the defender. But in return, consistency is what we most definitely have seen from our captain. I cant remember the last header he lost, the last block he missed, the last pass that wasn’t successful. The man, put simply, has been sublime in the black and white shirt this season. This is why he shouldn’t be overlooked when Southgate is selecting his defenders for Russia.

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I can imagine you’re thinking, ‘its a matter of opinion, he hasn’t been that good’. Let me take this further, the stats do not lie. According to Squawka, Lascelles has managed to win 68% of his contested headers, which has made him one of the most arially dominating players in the Premier League. Another impressive stat Lascelles can boast about, is the fact he hasn’t made a defensive error that has lead to a goal this season. Defensive errors were an occurring problem for Lascelles in the Championship, but this highlights his rapid improvement in front of the Toon Army. At the same time, during the last half of the 1617 season, he played with a double hernia injury. Saying himself that he was playing at 50% capacity at times.

Lascelles has been incredibly important to NUFC. He picked up a leg injury in the month of November 2017, and had to miss five games because of it. In those five games United conceded a whopping 14 goals against the likes of WBA, Watford and Leicester – sides we should have kept clean sheets against. Since his return, we have only conceded six goals in six games. During that time we’ve limited high flying teams like Arsenal and Manchester City, to only one goal each. Thats no coincidence. This is mainly down to his superb communication and leadership skills.

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Because of his success this season, Lascelles has swiftly become a fan favourite. So big in fact, that it led to a gigantic flag of him that could be seen in the famous Gallowgate Stand before every home game. He also has picked up three Player of the Month awards so far this season, voted by the supporters. He really is loved on Tyneside and he deserves every single bit of praise.

When we look at England’s current CB’s, Lascelles, in my biased opinion, is several lengths better than the likes of Phil Jones and Jagielka. It would only be common sense to take in Jamaal. His passion, hunger to win and determination to keep a clean sheet is exemplary. It’s something England have lacked for a while. If he keeps up his current form and continues to impress, few would argue that a call up would be undeserved.

Vote in the poll below, Do you think Lascelles should go to the World Cup?