Eddie Howe gives verdict on Newcastle United player who could return against Tottenham Hotspur
Jamaal Lascelles could be handed only his second Newcastle United start in two months at Tottenham Hotspur this weekend.
Fabian Schar’s withdrawal from the Switzerland squad due to injury may see Lascelles return to the Magpies’ starting line-up for Sunday’s trip to Spurs (4:30pm kick-off) as head coach Eddie Howe considers his options.
Lascelles has started just one of the last seven Premier League matches for Newcastle – a 1-0 defeat at Chelsea as Howe went with a three centre-back formation. The Newcastle skipper missed the 1-0 win over Aston Villa back in February due to illness and has found it difficult to get back into the side.
Schar has been in fine form for Newcastle alongside Dan Burn but will be assessed following his return to Newcastle this week.
And that presents a potential opportunity for Lascelles to return to the starting line-up.
Speaking about Lascelles’ spell on the sidelines, Howe said: “His attitude has been spot on. He's our captain and he's led like a captain in a difficult moment because he'd want to play every game.
"I always think it's a true test of a leader in difficult moments and I think Jamaal has been absolutely superb, he has been positive in training, before the game and I can't speak highly enough of his reaction.
"Let's not forget it's only through a sickness bug that saw him miss the game then the two guys came together and did very well so it's not a reflection on his performances and against Chelsea he was excellent.”
January signing Kieran Trippier wore the captain’s armband against Villa in Lascelles’ absence before being forced off with a broken metatarsal. Jonjo Shelvey and Schar have also donned the armband in recent weeks.
And Trippier has also praised the Magpies skipper.
“I've been there,” Trippier said on The Geordie Podcast. “The last season I was at Tottenham I went through a difficult patch when I wasn't playing well but Jamaal is good.
"He's our captain and is a big leader around the place and he's performing well. He was brilliant [against Everton at St James’s Park] and showed great character.
"We have a great understanding me and Jam, even on the pitch. He's sound.”