Newcastle United round-up: Lascelles rallying cry; Coach praises Shelvey's ability; Scouting revamp

Newcastle United will host Stoke City this weekend and Jamaal Lascelles has been talking up the difficulty of facing the Magpies at home. The club captain believes that any team in the Premier League will find it tough against them on current form, especially at a packed St James’ Park. He told the Shields Gazette:

“It is going to be a good test – every game this season will be that way. It’s not the like the Championship. But they are at our place, in front of our fans and I think the way we are playing at the minute anyone will find it hard against us.”

It has been a good couple of weeks for Newcastle as they have won their last two Premier League fixtures. They will want to make the most of the momentum that they have created, as fortunes can quickly turn in the top flight. Their next two matches are against Stoke and Brighton. They should be looking to gain points from both.

Francisco de Miguel Moreno won’t be the number one this weekend after the return of Rafa Benitez. However, he has been speaking to the Chronicle and said the following on key midfielder Jonjo Shelvey:

“He’s one of the best we have worked with technically. We have worked some very good players too. He has those attributes and he is a very good player technically, but also with other things. In general we know that his level is good. He knows he has to improve, but knows exactly what he needs to do to achieve that.”

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There has never been a need to doubt Shelvey’s talent, as he is clearly one of the best players at St James’ Park. However, his attitude and aggression are concerns. Last weekend, he didn’t feature at all and he is unlikely to start this weekend. He is being punished for his red card during the opening weekend, but he will get a chance to prove himself soon. If he can finally keep his temper in check, there is no reason why he can’t have a good season.

Rafa Benitez has been unhappy with the recent transfer window, but he is trying to build for the future at Newcastle. The Chronicle report that he is revamping the scouting system as he wants the club to be ahead of the game when it comes to finding talent. He wants to know who the best youngsters are across the globe, with the view of signing them early. The report states that there are similarities with the Moneyball approach, as the Magpies try to compete with a lower budget.

This is encouraging news for supporters as it suggests that Benitez is planning for the long term at Newcastle, rather than seeking a quick exit after the disappointment of the summer window. The board can’t afford to make similar mistakes in the future, but as things stand, the club and manager are moving forwards together.

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