Eddie Howe issues update on Newcastle United captain Jamaal Lascelles after leaving him out of starting XIs
Jamaal Lascelles is yet to play a minute of competitive football this season.
But that’s likely to change at Prenton Park tonight, where Newcastle United’s captain is expected to lead a “freshened-up” team against Tranmere Rovers in a second-round Carabao Cup tie.
Lascelles, once a fixture in the team when fit, is now behind Sven Botman, Fabian Schar and Dan Burn in the pecking order at St James’s Park.
And head coach Eddie Howe – who insisted this summer that the 27-year-old would keep the captaincy at United – has spoken about Lascelles’ reaction to being left out of the team ahead of the club’s visit to Prenton Park, where the club will be backed by 2,200 fans.
“He’s reacted very well,” said Howe, who could hand midfielder Elliot Anderson his first Newcastle start against Tranmere. “I thought he had a very good pre-season. He’s unlucky not to play.
“There’s big competition now with Sven coming in, and the form of Fabian and Dan. I thought last year was very strong. Jamaal was part of that as well whenever he came in. He performed really well at a high level.
"We’re going to need that strength in depth as the season goes on.
“Behind the scenes, he’s been a brilliant captain and leader of the group. He sets the example every day in training of how to prepare and supports his team-mates. So I think he’s in a very good place.”
Former United skipper Alan Shearer described Kieran Trippier as “future captain material” last season, and the January signing has led the team in the Premier League this season.
“For me, he’s future captain material for Newcastle United,” said Shearer. “I have no doubt that I think he’ll captain Newcastle.”
However, Lascelles will remain club captain. Speaking last month, Howe said: "Jamaal’s our captain. He led the team really well last season. He’s a big presence, and a very positive influence on the squad.
"He’s been excellent pre-season, so Jamaal is our captain. If he doesn't play, for whatever reason, injuries or whatever, I will pick somebody else. But it's not the time to talk about it."
Howe added: "Jamaal’s definitely staying. He’s a big part of what we’re doing."