Jamaal Lascelles says captaining Newcastle United is not as hard as he feared – because of the other leaders in the dressing room.
Lascelles took the skipper’s armband last summer aged just 22 following the departure of the experienced Fabricio Coloccini.
United manager Rafa Benitez chose Lascelles, a vocal character on and off the pitch, for his leadership qualities.
And the Championship-leading team are closing in on automatic promotion.
Newcastle are two points clear at the top of the division ahead of tomorrow evening’s game against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.
Lascelles, however, says his job is made easier by the other “big characters” in United’s dressing room.
“I am young to be captain of such a big club – I know that,” said Lascelles. “But we’ve got a really good team. Everyone supports each other.
“There are three of four big characters in there that help me.
“The manager really trusts me. I’ve got a good relationship with him, so it’s not been as hard as maybe I thought it would have been.
“But I just want to get the job done and keep on winning games.”
Lascelles admits he takes it particularly hard when Newcastle lose a game.
Asked if he feels the weight of responsibility on his shoulders, the 23-year-old said: “I do. I can’t say I don’t. It’s not just me playing for myself. I’m playing for my team and all the fans, so I’ll always give my all.
“Sometimes I feel that if we do lose, it’s my fault, but that’s the job I have and I’m more than willing to deal with the circumstances.”