Newcastle United skipper Jamaal Lascelles hopes for Magpies transfer boost
Newcastle United skipper Jamaal Lascelles is hopeful of a dressing-room lift this week with head coach Steve Bruce in the hunt for new recruits.
The 25-year-old believes the Magpies have the quality within their ranks currently to compete in the Premier League – but having seen the boost new boy Joelinton has given the camp, Lascelles would like United to welcome one or two players before the closure of the summer transfer window for the Premier League, at 5pm on August 8.
“It would be nice to bring a few more in but a lot of that stuff is out of our control,” said Lascelles after United’s 2-1 loss at Preston on Saturday.
“We’ve got a good squad, a few additions would be nice but at the moment we’ve got to keep going.
“As a player, seeing a new player coming through the door automatically gives you a lift. You want to see what he’s about.
“Other players in his position are going to have step it up because you can see what he’s about.
“It’s about that belief because we haven’t really been buying a load of players over the last few years so it’s nice we’ve bought a striker in and hopefully he does a really good job for us.”
Joelinton had an eventful debut at Deepdale, following his arrival for Yoshinori Muto at half-time.
The striker won a penalty within seconds of arriving on the pitch, latching on to a smart Miguel Almiron through ball before a slight of movement saw him ghost past a defender as he was felled.
At the other end, though, within inches of defender Lascelles, the 22-year-old Brazilian chopped down a Preston attacker as he looked to clear and gave away the decisive penalty in the clash.
Despite the on-field drama, Lascelles has been impressed with everything he’s seen from the £35million man – and he thinks Premier League football will suit the frontman to a ‘t’.
“First impressions are that he’s a big lad, he’s fast, he’s strong and very athletic,” said Lascelles.
“I’m not sure what the German league is like and whether he’s going to have to adapt but personally I think he’s going to be raring to go.
“I think the Premier League is going to suit him perfectly. This isn’t a reflection on how we’re going to be playing and how we’re going to be.
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“He looks like a very good signing.”
The result against the Championship side was obviously not what United or Lascelles wanted – but the player was pleased to get more minutes under the belt, even though he admits Bruce’s Magpies are a work in progress.
“It was another 45 minutes in the legs,” he said.
“Pre-season friendlies, you come to win but credit to Preston – they were tough to break down and it reminded me of when we played in the Championship and how physical it was.
“They pressed us, went after second balls and it was really physical. It’s just crazy how one week you can go and beat West Ham and we played fantastic and then we come here and no offence to Preston but we lost.
“There are postives to take: the big man up front looked sharp but we do have things to work on.
“There’s always more work to do. We lost at Preston but it doesn’t reflect on how well we’ve been doing in pre-season. It was just one of those days, two unlucky decisions. Overall, we need to get the minutes under the belt.”
Bruce and coaches Steve Agnew and Stephen Clemence have already been making their mark on the squad on the Benton training pitches.
Double sessions and long distance runs have been common place, which will have come as a shock to the system to some.
“Pre-season should be hard,” said Lascelles.
“You work hard, double sessions – it’s what you’re paid to do. I think it’s really beneficial.
“Previous years we’ve not started off great, whether it’s been the Championship or the Premier League so we need to get our pre-season right and start the season flying. We are getting fitter and fitter.”
Bruce himself admitted he is no Rafa Benitez – but that does not mean the squad have taken to the former Sheffield Wednesday manager any less.
Lascelles continued: “It’s been really good with the new manager. He’s a really good man manager, his door’s always open. He’s got a lot of experience and his staff are great as well.“I saw him say I was still his captain on Twitter and I was pleased with that. I didn’t really think it would change but it’s nice to read anyway.”