Jamaal Lascelles calls for 'unity' at Newcastle and recounts meeting with 'nice guy' Mike Ashley
Jamaal Lascelles labelled Mike Ashley as a "nice guy" after signing a new deal at Newcastle United.
The club's captain has committed himself to the club until 2024.
"I’m over the moon," said Lascelles, who will lead winless Newcastle out against Watford at St James's Park on Saturday.
"It’s all I ever wanted really, to be tied down to a long-term contract at a massive club like Newcastle. To be guaranteed another six years is a great achievement for me, and all I ever wanted.
“It’s my prime years. I’m a centre-half and centre-halves don’t get to their prime until 26 or 27.
"I’ve still got a lot more to offer and knowing I’m here for another six years is a great achievement for me. It’s a thing off my mind and now I can just focus on what I’m doing on the pitch."
Lascelles pleaded for unity ahead of Saturday's home game against Watford.
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Fans have been demonstrating against owner Mike Ashley, who met Rafa Benitez and the players for a meal last month.
Asked about the meeting, the 24-year-old said: “Speaking honestly, and it might not be what everyone wants to hear, as a club I think it’s important everyone is together, especially when we’re right down at the bottom of the table.
"I think the meal was really positive, having a sit down meeting for the first time, hearing him speak and seeing what he’s like as a man.
"He’s a nice guy. I know fingers are being pointed at him, but I think it was a positive meeting and if it could happen more, I don’t think it would do any harm.
"If there are divides, I think it creates problems. If everyone in Newcastle stopped the negativity and tried to form a unity, that would help.
"When there are problems going on around off the pitch, it does have an effect on you as players. It would help if everyone came together and put all that bad energy into positive energy, helping us get three points. That’s what everybody wants."