Newcastle skipper Jamaal Lascelles assesses his chances of muscling into Gareth Southgate’s England World Cup squad

Newcastle skipper Jamaal Lascelles.
Newcastle skipper Jamaal Lascelles.

“Southgate’s got his number, he’s taking him to Russia, Jamaal Lascelles...”

It’s a chant sparked in the Gallowgate, which has spread like wild fire around St James’s Park and beyond of late.

Jamaal Lascelles gets the better of Alexis Sanchez in Newcastle's recent win over Manchester United. Picture by Frank Reid

Jamaal Lascelles gets the better of Alexis Sanchez in Newcastle's recent win over Manchester United. Picture by Frank Reid

England internationals have been in short supply on Tyneside in recent years, but Geordies know they’ve got a cracker in the making in skipper Lascelles.

And, seven months into Newcastle United’s battle to beat the Premier League drop, supporters, experts and even other clubs are starting to really take notice of the performances of the 24-year-old defender.

Just last week, Lascelles was linked with a £50million move to Antonio Conte’s Chelsea, and it’s no so long ago that he was on the radar of Arsene Wenger and Jurgen Klopp.

But what does the player himself think of his chances of muscling his way into Gareth Southgate’s national squad ahead of the World Cup this summer?

Lascelles reckons it will be hard work to get a call now, with so many seasoned Premier League names ahead of him in the pecking order.

“It would be great, but the only way I can get there is to put in consistent performances for Newcastle,” he told the Gazette.

“My focus is on staying up.

“It is every kid’s dream to play for England, of course, but I know I have no chance if I am not giving my absolute all to keep Newcastle in the Premier League.

“The England manager has his set players.

“He has centre-halves who have been established in the Premier League for some time and I think it will take a lot to edge them out.

“If I keep doing my job, though, I do think I have got a good chance.”

Lascelles rise has been meteoric at United.

At just 22, he was made skipper by one of the most decorated managers in world football – Rafa Benitez.

At 23, he was lifting the Championship trophy and now, at 24, he feels he could be about to guide the youngest, most inexperienced squad in the top flight to Premier League safety.

“I would never have thought when I came that one day I would be captain of this great football club,” he said.

“For me, it has happened quick.

“Since the manager has come in, things have been on the rise for not only the club but also for the city and me as well.

“He showed a lot of trust in me to give me the armband when I was just 22.

“I can only thank him and I definitely feel like I have developed as a player, and as a person, since he has been in charge here.

“If people would have asked us if we’d want to be where we are at this stage of the season in the summer – a lot of people would have said ‘yeah’.

“I think we are in a good position, even if we have been frustrated a lot this season.

“We just need to keep working hard and trusting the manager.”

Meanwhile, Newcastle’s clash with Arsenal has been moved for Sky coverage.

The game has been switched from Saturday, April 14 and will now take place on Sunday, April 15, with a 1.30pm kick-off.