Newcastle's Jamaal Lascelles reacts to speculation linking him with Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool
Jamaal Lascelles says he's committed as ever at Newcastle United - after a summer of speculation linking him with a move away.
The club's captain – who led the team to a 10th-placed finish in the Premier League last season – has been linked with a number of clubs, including Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United and Everton.
But the 24-year-old, under contract at St James's Park until 2023, isn't looking to leave Newcastle.
"I don’t really take much notice of it," said Lascelles, speaking from the club's training camp in Ireland.
"Since I was 16, there's always been speculation and interest from clubs. My dad's always said to me, and he still says now, 'don't take any notice of it - just concentrate on your job, work hard and be the best player you can be'.
"Your football will take care of yourself if you do that.
"I'm happy. I'm a Newcastle player. I'm still tied down to a long contract. It's about having a good pre-season and starting the season right."
Lascelles, importantly, has been playing week in, week out for the past two seasons.
"I'm playing every week," said Lascelles, signed from Nottingham Forest in 2014. "The fans love me. For me to lose that would be quite upsetting.
"I'm happy here. I'm the captain. I'm 24, and it’s important for me to carry on playing games, because that’s how you develop."
United manager Rafa Benitez – who handed Lascelles the captain's armband two years ago – insisted last week that Lascelles' future lay at St James's Park.
"For sure, we don't want to sell Jamaal," said Benitez, whose side take on St Patrick's Athletic tomorrow night.
"He’s a key player for us. He was a key player last year and he can be a key player for Newcastle United in a long, long time in the future."