Is Newcastle United's Jamaal Lascelles ready to make the step up to the top end of the Premier League?

Jamaal Lascelles.
Jamaal Lascelles.
0
Have your say

As revealed by the Gazette this morning, Jamaal Lascelles has been scouted by Premier League giants Liverpool, with view to a potential mega money move to Merseyside in January.

The link comes just weeks after top flight pace-setters Chelsea were credited with an interest in the former Nottingham Forest man.

What is not in doubt is that the 23-year-old has made a big impact on Tyneside, with his leadership qualities coming to the fore and his performances making him an integral part of Rafa Benitez's United starting XI.

But while he has impressed in the Championship, is Lascelles ready for top flight football again? Not just that, could he make the step up to Anfield, where the title is a realistic aim?

FULL STORY: Liverpool eye move for Newcastle United defender.
Here are the arguments for and against whether he's ready for the big time.

Three reasons why Lascelles is ready

Leadership

When Benitez joined it seemed inconceivable that Lascelles would play such a prominent role.

After an embarrassing defeat at Southampton, Lascelles made clear to some of his more established that more effort was required.

From that moment on he was an ever-present.

Following relegation to the second tier Benitez chose Lascelles to lead the Magpies in their quest to return to the top table at the first time of asking.

Put simply, this season Lascelles’ performances have been outstanding at the heart of Newcastle’s defence.

Aerial ability

Standing at 6ft 1in, Lascelles’ ability in the air is one of his strongest attributes. He is more than comfortable under the high ball in England’s slightly more physical second tier.

On average Lascelles is involved in 4.9 aerial duels per game, winning 3.5.

An example of Lascelles’ strength in the air was his only goal of the season in the 2-0 win against Brighton. He also scored headers against Watford and Swansea in the Premier League last season.

Like for like

Lascelles would almost certainly be seen as a like-for-like replacement for Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren.

The Newcastle skipper reads the game well also.

Both Lovren and Lascelles have very similar statistics in certain department - their aerial duel figures are almost identical, for example.

With out-of-favour Mamadou Sakho set to be shown the Anfield exit door, it might not be out the question that Jurgen Klopp turns to youthful Lascelles to plug the gap.

Three reasons why Lascelles is not ready

Lack of experience

Lascelles has made just over 100 first team appearances in his career, and has only just cemented his place as a first team starter, doing so at the back end of last season.

He is not quite the finished article and could benefit from an extended stay at St James' Park.

One big negative about penning a deal at Liverpool would be gametime. At Newcastle he is a cornerstone of Benitez's starting side, it is difficult to see that coming immediately under Klopp.

Ball playing ability

Klopp’s side averag 60% possession per game this campaign - a statistic only bettered by Manchester City.

To be a part of the current Liverpool setup, it is arguably more important to be a footballer first and defender second.

While Lascelles is not weak on the ball, he would need to improve to cement his place in a Premier League title-chasing side.

The Benitez Factor

Benitez has shown huge faith in Lascelles, and has undoubtedly played a massive role in his improvement as a defender.

Since his arrival, Rafa has meticulously organised the defence during games, including the positioning and movement of Lascelles.

Under the Spaniard's guidance it is hard to see how Lascelles won't continue his meteoric rise.

Lascelles has the potential to be a top class defender, and under Benitez he has a great chance of achieving it.