Newcastle United round-up: Lascelles contract; Benitez returns; Shelvey set for U23 action
Newcastle United have entered into contract talks with Jamaal Lascelles, according to the Chronicle. The club are keen to tie their captain down for the long-term and that desire will have grown over the weekend after an excellent performance against Swansea City. The defender is on England’s radar and is surely a future international. Although he has three years left on his current deal, the Magpies are thought to have discussed an improved deal.
This would be a good move from Newcastle. Since he signed his last contract, he has been made club captain and a pay-rise has been earned. He needs to be given better terms in order to keep him happy as other clubs will be keeping an eye on him. There are few quality English defenders and Lascelles is a proven leader. At the age of 23, he is the youngest Premier League captain and has the potential to become a great defender.
Rafa Benitez wasn’t on the touchline during the weekend’s victory over Swansea City after his hernia operation. However, the Chronicle report that he has now returned to Tyneside after being declared fit for work again by his medics. The Newcastle boss will be back at the training ground tomorrow and will start to plan for the upcoming fixture against Stoke City.
It was a blow for the Spaniard to miss the most recent fixture, but his coaching staff and players managed to get the three points without him. Benitez still had a huge influence on the game, but it will be a boost to have him back on the training ground. There have been rumours about his future and it will be interesting to see what he says about that in the next press conference. A lot of questions need to be answered.
Jonjo Shelvey will be given a chance to press for a first-team recall on Monday night. The Chronicle report that the midfielder will play for the second string against Norwich City. The England international hasn’t played since the opening weekend of the season and needs to gain match practice. He has agreed to play in the game and there are a few other first-team players that are expected to feature.
The form of Isaac Hayden and Mikel Merino has meant that Shelvey will have a difficult battle to get back into the first-team. There is no doubting his ability, but he is no longer trusted after an idiotic red card against Tottenham. He has to work his way back into Benitez’s good books and an outing in an Under-23 game is a good place to start, as it shows a mature attitude.
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