Newcastle United defender Jamaal Lascelles believes Steve McClaren can achieve great things at the club – because of the standard of players at his disposal.
Lascelles is bedding in to the Magpies squad after spending a year back on loan at Nottingham Forest following his signing last summer.
With the players we have here God knows what we can do.Jamaal Lascelles
But he’s delighted to link up again with McClaren, who was first-team manager at the City Ground when he was coming through the Academy.
While Lascelles didn’t have much to do with McClaren back then, he’s followed the head coach’s career closely since, and locked horns with him again last season when Forest played Derby County.
And he says the style of football McClaren brought to the Rams can be replicated on Tyneside – with great success.
“I remember him at Forest,” said Lascelles.
“But I was just 17 and he was only here for a little while and I didn’t have much to do with the first team.
“He had Derby County last season and he got them playing great football with the players they have.
“With the players we have here God knows what we can do.”
McClaren has already started to instil his football philosophy on the Newcastle squad, urging the team to play out more from the back than in previous seasons.
And Lascelles has been impressed with the way pre-season training has gone.
“It’s excellent,” added the 21-year-old
“All the staff are great and everybody has fitted in really well and it has been a lot easier than I thought.”
It’s not just the staff that have made the youngster feel welcome, with Lascelles admitting he’s enjoyed his first taste of life on Tyneside. The centre-half moved up from Nottingham last month, and was taken aback by the friendly nature of people in the city.
“The minute I got up here there first thing I realised was how friendly people were.
“Not just because they knew I played for Newcastle but just in general.
“It is a lovely city and the following that Newcastle have behind them is phenomenal and up there with the best in the country.
“So I feel really feel fortunate to be at such a big club and hopefully I can be playing.”
Lascelles has started both of Newcastle’s pre-season games against Gateshead and Club Atlas, and with skipper Fabricio Coloccini still struggling with an Achilles injury and Steve Taylor working his way back to fitness, he’s in line to feature again tomorrow morning against Sacramento Republic.
Lascelles gave a penalty away in Tuesday night’s 2-1 defeat to Club Atlas as United struggled to get to grips with their Mexican opponents in the first half, but they improved after the break in front of an enthusiastic 21,256 crowd at Miller Park.
“They were really bright, but it was our second game, and I thought we played some really good football at times,” said Lascelles, an England Under-21 international.
“I thought we were much better in the second half. We managed to turn them around and get them facing their own goal.
“It’s a different sort of football. They’re really good on the ball.
“The atmosphere was great. It was a different environment, it was nice.”