Alan Shearer has offered a fascinating insight into his interview with NUFC skipper Jamaal Lascelles in his piece for the BBC this week, revealing just why he was left so impressed by the 23-year old defender – someone he now sees as the ‘ideal’ captain for Newcastle United.
Alan Shearer’s visited the NUFC training ground last week for an in-depth interview with the skipper for the BBC’s ‘Premier League Show’.
The interview will be shown at 10pm on BBC2 tonight and promises to be an enthralling watch, with a former NUFC favourite meeting the current one.
Speaking about the interview with the current NUFC captain, Shearer began by explaining just why it was easy for him to see why Rafa gave Lascelles the armband at Newcastle United – even if it makes him the youngest captain in the Premier League:
“I had not met Jamaal Lascelles before I interviewed him for this week’s Premier League Show but now I can see why Rafael Benitez made him Newcastle’s captain.
“It is a job that I have been lucky enough to have done myself, so I understand the pressure and the responsibility that comes with the armband.
“Jamaal clearly does too. He sees being Newcastle skipper as an honour, just like I did, and he definitely has the kind of character you need to be the leader at my old club.
“It is a lot to take on at any age but he deserves even more credit when you consider he is the youngest captain in the top flight.
“Jamaal turns 24 on Saturday and has only started 20 Premier League games but, from sitting down and talking to him, you would not think that he lacked any experience.”
Alan then spoke about Lascelles as a person, admitting just how well he came across in the short time he had with the NUFC skipper last week:
“He was down to earth, honest and very open.
“I had already been impressed by Jamaal as a player this season, and I was impressed by him as a person too.
“Saying what he thinks is part of the job.
“One of the most important things about being Newcastle captain is your relationship with the supporters. You have to understand them, and what they want see.
“They love anyone who works hard, gives their all and fights for everything, and I think that’s why they have taken to Jamaal so much – because they appreciate he does all of that.
:The feeling is mutual. I could tell how much it meant to him when he talked about spotting the huge banner that fans had made of him in the Gallowgate End for the first time.”
Shearer then touched on how he has been dealing with things on and off the pitch, revealing just why he has lead by example with his fair but honest approach:
“He wears his heart on his sleeve and leads by example when he is out on the pitch and he has the same approach when he is dealing with issues in the dressing room too.
“The training ground bust-up he had with Mo Diame last month, and particularly the way it was resolved, is a great example of that.
“So is the time he spoke up at half-time of Newcastle’s defeat at Southampton in April 2016, when he was not even a regular in the team.
“Jamaal explained why he is not afraid to say what he thinks if he feels it is for the good of the team, and that is typical of his whole approach.
“He just sees it as part of the job of being captain – which is exactly right.”
Finally, Big Al then spoke about his development under Rafa Benitez, stating how fascinating it was to hear about how Rafa has looked to improve his game both on the pitch as a footballer, and off the pitch as a captain:
“It was telling that Jamaal spoke about the team so much, even when I asked him questions about his own situation, and he was quick to acknowledge the influence of Rafael Benitez too.
“Jamaal was full of praise for Benitez as a person, and of course as a manager as well, for the part he has played in every aspect of his development.
“In terms of improving him as a defender, it was fascinating to hear about the level of detail Benitez puts into in training, going beyond the work on tactics and team shape that he is renowned for.
“He has taught Jamaal a lot about the art of man-management too, since making him his skipper at the start of last season.
“Benitez has been helping him along the way, giving his advice on how to react to situations, and there cannot be many better managers to learn all of that from.”
Make sure sure you catch the big interview tonight on BBC2 at 10pm folks!