Newcastle United star gives Eddie Howe ‘a little bit to think about’ after fresh injury blow
The defender has made two Premier League starts, both away, at Liverpool and Manchester City. Arguably two of Newcastle’s toughest away trips of the season, six months apart from one another.
The Magpies put in valiant displays but were beaten on both occasions, the club’s only two away defeats in the Premier League this season.
But after going over half a year since his last Premier League start, it was always going to be a tough ask for Lascelles to be physically and mentally prepared for the trip to the Etihad Stadium.
A concussion to Fabian Schar handed Lascelles the opportunity to return to the starting line-up and lead the side out on Saturday afternoon. Schar suffered his injury during the Carabao Cup final against Manchester United, giving Lascelles a full week in training knowing that he would likely be starting at the weekend.
“I’ve been on the bench for a while because of how well the team has done and it has been fantastic,” Lascelles said. “I’ve been waiting my turn, staying ready so I’m ready when called upon.
"I came in and it’s a shame we didn't get anything from the game but there are positives to take.”
After going 17 league games unbeaten, it was a third straight defeat for Newcastle in all competitions. But Lascelles feels the ‘dip’ in form isn’t a cause for concern just yet.
“The encouraging thing for me is that although we’ve had a little dip in the season, our performances in the Liverpool game with 10 men, the final, [against Manchester City], there are positives to take with the chances and we could have stopped their goals,” he added. “We’re not that far off where we want to be as a team.”
Despite recent results, Newcastle still boast the strongest defence in the Premier League with just 17 goals conceded in 24 matches. While Lascelles understands it will be difficult to stay in The Magpies’ starting line-up once Schar is back available, he hopes his solid display against City will be enough to give head coach Eddie Howe some food for thought.
"It was a different test for me,” Lascelles told The Gazette. “Not many teams come to Man City and win so it’s a test to come in when you’ve not played for so long but I’m grateful that I’ve got an opportunity [against Manchester City] and hopefully it has given the manager a little bit to think about.
“We've got a great squad, we’ve got strength in every position and I like to think that it doesn’t matter how many changes are made, we’re still strong and our bench is really strong. It’s a good headache for the manager to have.”
Newcastle will be hoping to end their run of losses when they host Wolverhampton Wanderers at St James’ Park on Sunday (4:30pm kick-off). And Howe will have some tough decisions to make regarding his team selection.