Jamaal Lascelles opens up on a career-defining decision from Rafa Benitez
Jamaal Lascelles has revealed what it takes, in his view, to be a captain.
Lascelles presented the Young Leader Award at the Newcastle United Foundation’s annual dinner this week.
The defender was handed the captain’s armband by then-manager Rafa Benitez in 2016 – aged just 22.
Lascelles – who succeeded the experienced Fabricio Coloccini in the demanding role – went on to lead the club to the Championship title.
The 25-year-old was asked what qualities were needed to be a leader at the dinner by event host and United fan Gabby Logan.
Lascelles said: “Captains don’t necessarily have to be the best player on the pitch, because I’m not!
“We’ve got some really talented boys in the group. People who score goals, technically really gifted. I think I got given the armband because I was honest, I spoke up. I was young at the time, but I think I was trying to lead by example on and off the pitch.
“Just trying to do the right things, and if you’ve got a bit of character, then, of course, that’s a massive help. So I think that’s why I got given the armband.”
Lascelles presented the Young Leader Award to Imran Ali, who was helped by the Foundation, which works with more than 50,000 people every year, after moving to Newcastle from Bradford.
“I’m not sure if everyone’s born with it (leadership), a lot of it can be how you’ve grown up as a kid, your family and being around a certain environment,” said Lascelles.
“Things like this are really important, being in a team and getting to grips with how to treat other people. If you’re a leader, sometimes you might have to put your arm round someone. Other people you can have a bit more of a go at.
“It’s just about spending more time with people and being in a team environment. What we’re doing here is a prime example of how you can be better at that.”
The Foundation’s dinner raised more than £55,000. The money will go towards its work in the region.