Former NUFC man Steve Howey has delivered some harsh words towards Jamaal Lascelles – labelling the skipper our third best centre-back and a player who wouldn’t get in his best starting 11.
Howey believes that injuries and inconsistent form under Steve Bruce has caused the 27-year-old’s stock to fall massively – feeling that Fernandez and Schar should be picked ahead of Lascelles.
Here’s what he’s had to say about the captain and our current defensive options:
“I mean, I like Lascelles. I think he’s a decent player,”
“Again, it’s like all players, you kind of struggle with form and I think, obviously, with injuries as well with him – I totally understand that.
“I like Fernandez, Schar for me is a good player as well. Paul Dummett’s decent in there, Ciaran Clark’s done really well in there as well.
“It’s probably going to upset a few people but I’d probably say Fernandez and Schar are the strongest two.”
On the contrary, Howey did acknowledge the importance of Lascelles’ leadership qualities; and therefore the impact he can have on the team overall.
“I mean, I thought Lejeune was decent and obviously he left. I think the leadership qualities, though, that you do get off Lascelles helps the team, so, it is a difficult one.
“I think on a football-base, I would go with Schar and Fernandez but, obviously, you’re missing them leadership qualities that Lascelles brings.”
It’s certainly a controversial take, but it may not be as unpopular as I think amongst NUFC fans. Lascelles has clearly regressed under Bruce and is no longer on the verge of an England call-up or being linked with big money moves away.
However, I definitely feel more likely to keep a team out if Lascelles is in the side over Fabian Schar. The Swiss star might be more comfortable on the ball and easier on the eye, but he’s a defensive liability at times and was absolutely terrible during project restart.
Do you think Lascelles is only our third best central defender? Let us know in the comments below!