Newcastle locks up captain, transfer target Lascelles for six years

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Newcastle’s emotional leader and arguable best player isn’t going anywhere*.

Jamaal Lascelles has signed a new six-year deal with the Magpies, keeping him at St. James’ Park through the 2023-24 season.

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Rafa Benitez called Lascelles “the future of the club and someone who really cares.”

It’s hard to debate that, even beyond the uplifting story of Lascelles helping an Afghanistan veteran in the rain.

Lascelles’ 7.1 clearances per game rank fifth in the Premier League. He’s been linked with most of the Top Four teams at some point, and is still just 24 years oldFrom

“He’s still a young player, still a young captain and still a young centre-back, so we’re talking about a player who has a great future, because normally you consider the peak of a centre-back could be between 28 years old and 30 years old, so still he has plenty of room for improvement.”

Newcastle has yet to win this season, but defense has not been the problem. Owner Mike Ashley again failed to approve transfers for the sort of attacking talent the club has had in the past.

Unfortunately for Lascelles, the happy day has received some backlash because he had the audacity to give praise to the man who just green lit his new long-term contract and raise: controversial and penny-pinching owner Ashley.

Don’t get us wrong: Ashley is costing Newcastle big time on the table, but being angry with Lascelles for paying a compliment during a massive career announcement? A little petty.

*With the everpresent knowledge that new contracts just raise transfer price tags.

Newcastle captain helps marine vet in inspiring tale

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Jamaal Lascelles has earned Newcastle United’s captaincy for a reason, and his example setting clearly extends off the field.

The 24-year-old has been tipped for an England look thanks to his displays at Newcastle this season, but an ankle injury has kept him away from the pitch since Nov. 4.

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Out for dinner with his girlfriend on a cold night, Lascelles came upon a marine veteran who was having trouble with his wheelchair. After unsuccessfully trying to help the man repair his a broken wheel, Lascelles volunteered to drive the veteran home. But the marine was in too much pain from a recent surgery and it was too painful to lift him into Lascelles’ vehicle.

So Lascelles invited the marine and his partner inside for drinks, and called him a taxi that can handle wheelchair-bound people. He paid for the taxi, promised him some tickets, and now the pair are talking via Facebook.

From The Newcastle Chronicle:

“…He was the nicest guy ever. I think he was about 27, he lost his legs when he was 24. It just makes you think about how fortunate we are as footballers, we don’t have anything to moan about, at all.

“He was an ex-marine. I think he was out in Afghanistan, I think he stepped on a mine I think. He lost his legs, but his upper body is so strong because he’s always wheeling. It was only 10-15 minutes out of my time.”

What’s most inspiring is that Lascelles could’ve counted himself content at several parts in the story, from trying to help his new marine friend into his wheelchair, to not being able to get the vet into his car, to just buying the man some drinks.

But he kept going, and wasn’t sated. We can all learn from that.

The full interview is in Match of the Day Magazine, and this is their web site.