Despite two wins in a row and an unbeaten run in the league stretching back to mid December, a lot of Newcastle fans on social media don’t seem to be sold on Chris Wood or Jamaal Lascelles.
The former is yet to score since arriving from Burnley last month and the latter is the defender many would axe to make room for Dan Burn, however Eddie Howe has jumped to the defence of both, explaining why they’ve still played crucial roles in recent weeks.
Howe feels Wood’s presence up top has helped us retain possession in the opposition half – he’s won more aerial duels than any other Premier League player in each of the last two weeks (15 at Leeds and 12 against Everton) – and praised his work-rate, saying he’s an unselfish player who fills in for the team in ways some wouldn’t notice.
Here’s what he’s had to say about the Kiwi – who is yet to score, but has helped us to a draw and two wins in the three games he’s played so far!
Eddie Howe on Chris Wood:
“He’ll want that goal but it’s not lost on me the difference he’s made to that front line.
“Also his work rate and teamwork. He’s covered for Maxi a couple of times when he’s out of position so for a striker to do those unselfish things has made a big difference.
“I don’t think you can underestimate all the aspects of his game that help the team.”
Howe then talked up Jamaal Lascelles’ role in the squad, insisting that people won’t realise what he does ‘behind the scenes’ as a captain and that he’s a player of “huge potential” who is always looking to improve:
Eddie Howe on Jamaal Lascelles:
“I’ve been really pleased with Jamal since I’ve come in.
“I think I’ve seen a player that really, really cares has been very, very good on the training ground day to day.
“Very good attitude to his work, wants to wants to learn wants to improve is a very good mentality.
“So I’ve been really pleased with him and I’ve enjoyed working with him.
“We’ve built up a good relationship. And I think in the games, I think he’s performed.
“I think he’s performed well, I think he’s improved as the team has, in my opinion. I feel there’s a lot more to come from him as well.
“I see a player a huge potential physically very good, and he’s led the team well, obviously people won’t see behind the scenes what goes on day to day but he’s he’s led the team incredibly well.
“And again, that’s an area that we can help him with and develop come in.
“So very positive signs from him.”