Jamaal Lascelles' verdict on the battle for places at Newcastle United after Sven Botman signing

Newcastle United’s defence had a familiar look to it at the weekend.

Ahead of new signing Nick Pope in goal, was Kieran Trippier, Fabian Schar, Dan Burn and Matt Targett.

Three-quarters of Saturday’s defence were responsible for helping Newcastle’s remarkable transformation at the end of last season - with Eddie Howe opting to stick to his tried-and-tested back-four for the visit of Nottingham Forest.

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This meant that there was no place for new signing Sven Botman or club-captain Jamaal Lascelles in the starting side on Saturday.

The signing of Botman, who had been a long-term target for the Magpies and the centre of great interest during the January window before the club switched their attention towards the signing of Burn, bolstered a defensive unit that was much improved following the turn of the year.

The result of Botman’s addition means that competition is fierce for a spot at the back - and although he has started just five games since January, Lascelles believes that competition can only benefit him and his teammates.

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Lascelles said: “It’s healthy competition and I think that’s really important.

"Sometimes as human beings you can get complacent at times but we’ve all got to stay on our toes and keep fighting for that spot and that can only be good for individuals and as a team collectively.

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Newcastle United captain Jamaal Lascelles (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“It’s important that we have that in every area, all over of the pitch, not just at centre-back.

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“You saw the eleven against Atalanta and the one against Athletic Bilbao and it’s two good starting eleven’s, so there’s going to be some big decisions for the manager.”