After being named joint winners of the North East Sportswriters Player of the Year, Rafa Benitez has praised both Jamaal Lascelles and Matt Ritchie, stating they are ‘the character’ and ‘passion’ of the team, being two players who really ‘care about the shirt’.
This came from Benitez at last night’s North East Football Writers’ Association annual awards dinner, with the gaffer praising the key duo for all their work for the club over the past 12 months.
Benitez himself picked up the ‘special recognition’ award for leading us to promotion and the Championship title last season, but was full of praise for Jamaal Lascelles and Matt Ritchie, saying the following about the two ‘key players’ at NUFC:
“Both were key players (in the Championship) and are key players for us,”
“They are the character of the team, the passion. They are both very competitive.
“I think it’s what you’re looking for as a fan. They care about the shirt, the team and they want to win. Both were fantastic for us.”
Jamaal Lascelles & Matt Ritchie joint winners of the NE Sportswriters Player of the Year. The NUFC captain collects the award 🏆 pic.twitter.com/oFtvsb7w22
— Keith Downie (@SkySports_Keith) February 25, 2018
Rafa’s not wrong, and this character, passion and understanding of what it means to play for Newcastle United is perhaps exactly why fans have grown to love both Lascelles and Ritchie over the past 18 months.
A well deserved award for the NUFC duo. Let’s hope their efforts continue over the next 10 games, as staying up would be the biggest reward of all.
🎥 @Lascelles16 spoke to NUFC TV at last night's North East Football Writers' Association annual awards dinner. The Newcastle captain was the joint-winner of the player of the year award, along with Matt Ritchie.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) February 26, 2018