Read Jamaal Lascelles' reaction to speculation about his Newcastle future
Everton have again been linked with Newcastle United captain Jamaal Lascelles.
Lascelles has been the subject of speculation for much of the summer after leading his club to a 10th-placed finish last season.
The 24-year-old, has also been linked with West Ham United and Liverpool.
Lascelles, under contract at St James's Park until 2023, addressed speculation last month at the club's training camp in Ireland.
Speaking to the Gazette, Lascelles said: “I don’t really take much notice of it. 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.”
Benitez also spoke about Lascelles' future at Newcastle.
“For sure, we want Jamaal,” said Benitez. “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.
“The reality is that we don’t want to sell Jamaal. He’s a key player for us, and the captain and a leader.”