Captaincy dilemma for Rafa?

As well as re-shaping his squad this summer, Rafa also has a decision to make on the game time of Jamaal Lascelles next season. He has showed good leadership qualities and some promise but with Lejeune on board and the good form of Ciaran Clark, his place could well be in jeopardy next year.

As a young player this would not be a problem if it wasn’t for the captaincy, which certainly complicates things. Providing he does not remain first choice, what routes could Rafa take next year?

Appoint a new captain?

Rafa’s pragmatic skills would be tested if he went down this route. He would have to pass the role to someone else, whilst keeping Lascelles motivated and made to feel like an important part of his plans still. Matt Ritchie would appear the strong candidate of the current playing squad to take the role; a just reward for his excellent attitude and work rate.

Depending on our transfer activity, Rafa may even appoint a new signing as captain if they come in with the right experience and pedigree. Someone like Pepe Reina would fit this profile. Either way, if Rafa does pass the role on, it is important to keep Lascelles involved in some capacity, maybe as vice-captain. His good character and having squad depth at centre half are both things we have lacked over the years.

A 3-5-2 formation?

A more unlikely and left of field option would be that Rafa may utilise this new formation next season, meaning slots for Clark, Lejeune and Lascelles. While improbable, as it was rarely used last year, it would mean the issue of having a captain who doesn’t play would not there.



The system would suit the blistering pace of Yedlin but you feel it would enforce further the need to purchase a more attacking left back than Paul Dummett. Other teams like Spurs and even Arsenal towards the end of the season, found success with this formation. Systems tend to come in cycles and popularity, it may just be that Newcastle explore this formation at some stage next year.

Retain as ‘Club captain’?

Another option is to keep Lascelles as captain, even if he is not first choice. This is something more common on the continent, with player effectively being a club captain. This would involve still being the face of the squad to the press and a leader off the pitch, with a more regular first team player wearing the armband when Lascelles doesn’t play.

The captaincy will certainly be in Rafa’s thoughts. As with a lot of things at the moment, you feel our player recruitment will determine the outcome of this one. Lascelles did a great job leading our title win last year, especially off the pitch, and whatever happens has come a long way since joining NUFC.

About Simon Riddlesden

Lifelong Newcastle United fan and East Stand season ticket holder. Observations from a supporter who has followed NUFC during Champions League participation and through relegation, taking me from Milan to Scunthorpe.

117 thoughts on “Captaincy dilemma for Rafa?

  1. kimtoon:
    Don’t look like a new arrival before the Friday match does it

    No. I kind of stopped reading Toon’s transfer rumors a couple days ago. If there is no official announcement, I move to other stuff.

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  2. Funrafa I still think Pardew’s coming back and Ashley wants that to happen. As Troy would say mock my words

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  3. Keith Downie‏Verified account @SkySports_Keith · 18h18 hours ago

     More

    A prime example of this crazy market sees Sunderland flop Adnan Januzaj close to a £9m move from Man United to Real Sociedad

    wow, and Darlow bid from Boro was £5m , effin joking man

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  4. Hoots signs another player,Boro spend 14 mil on a forward from Forrest,what have we got,dog shit i give up with jabba

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  5. icedog:
    Hoots signs another player,Boro spend 14 mil on a forward from Forrest,what have we got,dog shit i give up with jabba

    Ice – if Boro are spending £14m on that forward they can whistle if they think they are getting Darlow for as little as £5m!!.

    £14m is nutter!!. I read earlier that Norwich want £16m for that young winger we are looking at 😳.

    As much as I want new players in, I can’t say I’m surprised it’s such a struggle if these bang average players are going for such huge fees

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  6. I keep hoping that our slowness is because we are negotiating for someone really good that no press are aware of yet, then I wake up and remember jabba is our owner 🙄 🙁

      (Quote)

  7. 30 replies . 135 retweets 269 likes

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    Lee Ryder‏Verified account @lee_ryder · 4h4 hours ago

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    Rafa Benitez gives his verdict on the Checkatrade Trophy and how he’ll use it next season http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/rafa-benitez-gives-verdict-checkatrade-13323326?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter … #NUFC

    1 reply . 3 retweets 5 likes

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     Lee Ryder Retweeted

    The Chronicle‏Verified account @ChronicleNUFC · 17h17 hours ago

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    Where #NUFC are at in their pursuit of transfers.

    10 replies . 3 retweets 12 likes

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     Lee Ryder Retweeted

    The Chronicle‏Verified account @ChronicleNUFC · 15h15 hours ago

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    Karl Darlow could miss the trip to Hearts – here is why. #NUFC

    4 replies . 4 retweets 6 likes

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    Lee Ryder‏Verified account @lee_ryder · 15h15 hours ago

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    #nufc pre-season training in Ireland confirmed

    1 reply . 6 retweets 11 likes

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    Lee Ryder‏Verified account @lee_ryder · 15h15 hours ago

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    #nufc have money to spend but they know they can’t afford to make many mistakes with recruitment

    29 replies . 12 retweets 40 likes

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     Lee Ryder Retweeted

    The Chronicle‏Verified account @ChronicleNUFC · 20h20 hours ago

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    Tension is the theme of the last week or so. Here’s @lee_ryder on what is going on with Rafa/transfers:

    13 replies . 8 retweets 13 likes

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     Lee Ryder Retweeted

    The Chronicle‏Verified account @ChronicleNUFC · 19h19 hours ago

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    BREAKING: #nufc in Group D in the Checkatrade Trophy. Here’s the opponents:

    3 replies . 8 retweets 9 likes

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    Lee Ryder‏Verified account @lee_ryder · 20h20 hours ago

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    Newcastle United facing six-week battle to get deals done after slow start to window http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/sport/football/transfer-news/newcastle-united-facing-six-week-13320669?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter … #NUFC

    11 replies . 7 retweets 19 likes

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     Lee Ryder Retweeted

    The Chronicle‏Verified account @ChronicleNUFC · 20h20 hours ago

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    ‘Cash at #nufc hasn’t dried up completely & they will spend soon’. Here’s @lee_ryder on Rafa, transfers & more:

    27 replies . 26 retweets 59 likes

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    Lee Ryder‏Verified account @lee_ryder · 22h22 hours ago

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    Karl Darlow could be forced to sit out of Newcastle United clash at Hearts http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/karl-darlow-could-forced-sit-13319948?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter … #NUFC

    1 reply . 3 retweets 4 likes

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    Lee Ryder‏Verified account @lee_ryder · 22h22 hours ago

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    Newcastle will have NO friendly games in Ireland. #nufc

    22 replies . 20 retweets 58 likes

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    Lee Ryder‏Verified account @lee_ryder · 22h22 hours ago

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    #nufc confirm they will train at Carton House next week in Ireland.

    6 replies . 7 retweets 22 likes

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    Lee Ryder‏Verified account @lee_ryder · 23h23 hours ago

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    Rafa Benitez focused on task in hand with #nufc transfers

    3 replies . 7 retweets 14 likes

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    Lee Ryder‏Verified account @lee_ryder · 23h23 hours ago

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    Rafa Benitez tells Newcastle United new boy Florian Lejeune to let his football do the talking http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/rafa-benitez-tells-newcastle-united-13319380?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter … #NUFC

    0 replies . 4 retweets 10 likes

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    Lee Ryder‏Verified account @lee_ryder · Jul 11

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    ICYMI – How Rafa Benitez is continuing his long-term project at #nufc

    4 replies . 5 retweets 19 likes

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     Lee Ryder Retweeted

    The Chronicle‏Verified account @ChronicleNUFC · Jul 10

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    Why Gazza is certain Rafa will deliver at #NUFC

    3 replies . 8 retweets 31 likes

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     Lee Ryder Retweeted

    The Chronicle‏Verified account @ChronicleNUFC · Jul 10

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    It’s a crazy market, but Rafa is still hopeful #NUFC will make progress this summer

    2 replies . 4 retweets 17 likes

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     Lee Ryder Retweeted

    The Chronicle‏Verified account @ChronicleNUFC · Jul 10

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    Rafa speaks out about #NUFC’s transfer plans and the ‘crazy’ market

    2 replies . 8 retweets 22 likes

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    Jacob Murphy has told his agent he wants move to #nufc and meetings with #ncfc will take place today. More to follow.

    2:27 am – 13 Jul 2017

    135 Retweets
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    The Chronicle‏Verified account @ChronicleNUFC · 20m20 minutes ago

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    Replying to @ChronicleNUFC @lee_ryder

    NEW: Jacob Murphy has turned down another club because he wants #nufc move

    Now then, lets see how we approach this gift then

      (Quote)

  8. kimtoon:
    I keep hoping that our slowness is because we are negotiating for someone really good that no press are aware of yet, then I wake up and remember jabba is our owner

    Kim – my wishful thinking is that there still might be a chance on Batshuyi. Once Chelsea sign either Morata or PEA – but that may hinge on moving Costa out. I think they will also sign Llorente from Swansea – I think that was part of the reason Abrahams went there. Once they have Morata & Llorente – I think they will allow Batshuyi to leave – and I think/hope we would still have a chance. But a lot of business needs to be done before that move can happen.

      (Quote)

  9. Kim – they reckon Norwich want £16m for the kid – so far we’ve reportedly bid £8m. I reckon we might go to £10m with add ons, but no way will we pay £16m imo.

      (Quote)

  10. Sorry guys only meant to copy the Murphy bits off Ryders twitter but somehow ended up with loads of stuff 🙄

    Sharpy, Reckon around £12m /£13m would be fair price

      (Quote)

  11. kimtoon:
    Sorry guys only meant to copy the Murphy bits off Ryders twitter but somehow ended up with loads of stuff

    Sharpy, Reckon around £12m /£13m would be fair price

    Kim – according to Sky the lads representatives are meeting with Norwich to try & convince them to let him go. I think the Tom Ince deal was £8m down with add ons that could take the deal up to £11m.
    I think a similar deal would be fair enough coz I like the look of this lad – but £16m would be too much imo.

      (Quote)

  12. Prices are really crazy if the Norwich kid is worth £16m. Makes you wonder what Ritchie, Gayle, Hayden, Clark and Yedlin would be worth from just a year ago.
    Maybe Rafa had an eye on the future after all.

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  13. £50m for Walker man?!?!?!?!! 🤦🏼‍♂️

    The worlds gone mad!!!

    How much would Ronaldo, Messi or Neymar be now?!

      (Quote)

  14. I know part exchange deals hardly ever happen but we have a few players Norwich would want. Why not hoy in Hanley, Colback, Darlow or Daryl Murphy into the Jacob Murphy deal?

    Is it Ashley being a Scrooge again with Jacob Marley, I mean Murphy?

      (Quote)

  15. Why do we let contracts run down when other teams would be interested in paying a fee for some of our players? I am thinking Anita and Gouffran this year but also Danny Simpson and Dan Gosling in the recent past.

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  16. And I am shocked there has been no interest in Krul. A couple of years ago he was talked about in the 15 million pound bracket, which would be about a hundred million kajillion in today’s money.

      (Quote)

  17. Sharpy17:
    £50m for Walker man?!?!?!?!!

    The worlds gone mad!!!

    How much would Ronaldo, Messi or Neymar be now?!

    Bonkers mate, managers must be turning grey overnight

      (Quote)

  18. I’m amazed these prices haven’t made Jabba sell up already. He surely has to see that the clubs transfer blue print isn’t sustainable in the current climate. It’s looking like we are not prepared or unable to afford to go to an any where near acceptable fee for most players we want , so If we can’t or won’t compete with other clubs then he cannot be surprised if we drop again. Basically we need a much richer owner or massive investment to stand still by looks of it.

      (Quote)

  19. I think it is going to get even crazier if that is possible. Man City are in talks with MBappe’s Reps. He is 19 with one season in the crap French League although he did play really well in the CL. My guess is a new world record, probably 120 million as he really wants to go to Real Madrid but his Agent will take the money anyway.

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  20. Fifa or somebody needs to step into this craziness and get it sorted as it’s getting really silly.

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  21. No new signings for us then? Gayle as the new Defoe. Shelvey in the number 10 Gerrard style?
    Could we survive without new players at all?

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  22. georgio:
    Fifa or somebody needs to step into this craziness and get it sorted as it’s getting really silly.

    They are probably laughing their collective cocks off, they hate the English and would love to see our game implode, which mark my words it will before long. This situation isn’t sustainable and many good historical clubs will end up going to the wall.

      (Quote)

  23. georgio:
    No new signings for us then? Gayle as the new Defoe. Shelvey in the number 10 Gerrard style?
    Could we survive without new players at all?

    you know, if he could stay fit, I reckon De Jong could be an excellent number 10 for us. Shame he’s made of glass.

      (Quote)

  24. georgio:
    Fifa or somebody needs to step into this craziness and get it sorted as it’s getting really silly.

    You mean the notoriously corrupt FIFA that sold World Cups to Russia and Qatar 🙂

      (Quote)

  25. kimtoon: They are probably laughing their collective cocks off, they hate the English and would love to see our game implode, which mark my words it will before long. This situation isn’t sustainable and many good historical clubs will end up going to the wall.

    My guess would be Leicester. The former fat lass who dropped the weight and now is seeing a cad, going on expensive trips on her credit (Musa, Slimani etc) only to hit the pints of ice cream when it all comes crashing down. Or Bournemouth.

      (Quote)

  26. Eric Sykes: My guess would be Leicester. The former fat lass who dropped the weight and now is seeing a cad, going on expensive trips on her credit (Musa, Slimani etc) only to hit the pints of ice cream when it all comes crashing down. Or Bournemouth.

    Aye, and a few more mate.

      (Quote)

  27. It is obvious to me that Rafa does not want to leave. He told Napoli owner he would leave after the season at the very beginning of the season (after the summer window), without saying a word to media or any other person. That is him when he is determined to leave. While here at Toon, he kept telling media he will leave if there is no improvement on transfer market. He is hoping/begging/threatening for help from the owner. Seriously, as a long term follower of him, I’ve never seen him like this before, except in Liverpool. Poor Rafa, I feel for him, and I am not optimistic. If I were him I would have already left after the promotion, for the betrayal at winter transfer window. There must be something he experienced at St-James park which he can’t easily say bye to. Although I don’t foresee a good ending here, as I have no faith on Ashley at all , I still want to say good luck to Rafa. He is trying his best.

      (Quote)

  28. Why on Earth are people shocked at the prices? If you finish bottom of the PL you will be guaranteed something like £120m!!! It’s pretty normal for the players to go up too. Someone said they’re about 2.5 times more expensive than they were under the last TV deal. It’s about right considering the new deal.

    Compete or die…

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  29. funrafa:
    It is obvious to me that Rafa does not want to leave. He told Napoli owner he would leave after the season at the very beginning of the season (after the summer window), without saying a word to media or any other person. That is him when he is determined to leave. While here at Toon, he kept telling media he will leave if there is no improvement on transfer market. He is hoping/begging/threatening for help from the owner. Seriously, as a long term follower of him, I’ve never seen him like this before, except in Liverpool. Poor Rafa, I feel for him, and I am not optimistic. If I were him I would have already left after the promotion, for the betrayal at winter transfer window. There must be something he experienced at St-James park which he can’t easily say bye to. Although I don’t foresee a good ending here, as I have no faith on Ashley at all , I still want to say good luck to Rafa. He is trying his best.

    I think he really likes the club and fans, I think he feels a lot of similarities to Liverpool, BUT, I do feel he will walk if he feels he’s been betrayed and he will of been if he gets no targets in .

      (Quote)

  30. Ashley has to go in order for Toon to revive. In this sense Rafa’s leaving may not be a bad thing. Let it rot, so Ashley can’t take advantage of it, and then he will let it go. If Rafa stays and helps the club to just survive in PL, Ashley will be happily married to Newcastle as long as it lasts.

      (Quote)

  31. funrafa:
    Ashley has to go in order for Toon to revive. In this sense Rafa’s leaving may not be a bad thing. Let it rot, so Ashley can’t take advantage of it, and then he will let it go. If Rafa stays and helps the club to just survive in PL, Ashley will be happily married to Newcastle as long as it lasts.

    there is that .

      (Quote)

  32. Huddersfield have already spent 35 mil plus,they were in the ccc a while with smallish crowds and they out spend us!!something not right,Hoots have signed another player y/day

      (Quote)

  33. Icedog:
    Huddersfield have already spent 35 mil plus,they were in the ccc a while with smallish crowds and they out spend us!!something not right,Hoots have signed another player y/day

    That is the way we are supposed to be. That is normal for a new promoted club who wants to make sure he will at least stay in PL. We are abnormal.

      (Quote)

  34. Fed up with the whole show at the toon,when we go down jabba gets about 120 mil from PL that will keep jabba happy

      (Quote)

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