Eddie Howe praises Jamaal Lascelles for stepping up as Newcastle stun PSG

The 29-year-old has found chances limited in the wake of an expensive recruitment drive.

Damian Spellman
Thursday 05 October 2023 09:50 BST
Jamaal Lascelles (right) led Newcastle to a stunning Champions League victory over Paris St Germain (Owen Humphreys/PA)
Jamaal Lascelles (right) led Newcastle to a stunning Champions League victory over Paris St Germain (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Jamaal Lascelles completed a journey from the brink of Premier League disaster to European football’s top table as he led Newcastle to a stunning Champions League victory over Paris St Germain.

The 29-year-old defender was one of three men in the Magpies’ starting line-up for Wednesday night’s remarkable 4-1 Group F victory over the French champions at St James’ Park, who was also in the XI for head coach Eddie Howe’s first game in charge in November 2021, a 3-3 league draw with Brentford.

At that point the club, which had just been taken over by Amanda Staveley’s Saudi-backed consortium, sat in 19th place in the table, but has since invested around £370million in new players, a recruitment drive which has seen club captain Lascelles slip down the pecking order until an injury to Sven Botman threw him back into the spotlight.

Asked about club captain Lascelles’ performance against PSG, Howe said: “I’m so pleased for Jamaal. I said countless times last year how good his attitude was, how well he trained, how good he’d been for the group.

“But ultimately he’s desperate to show how good he is on the pitch. The biggest compliment I can pay him is that he’s stepped in and he’s really stepped up to the challenge and I think he’s performed really, really well in the last group of games that we’ve had.

“He had to train so well to continue to develop his game when he wasn’t playing and my inner belief was always that he could improve with the team even though he wasn’t in the starting XI, and his game was in a really good place.

“I think he proved that tonight, so we’re delighted for him. It’s a real testament to his attitude and his character.”

To score four goals wasn't necessarily something that we expected to do. It's a very special night

Eddie Howe

Lascelles, who had joined Newcastle in a joint deal with keeper Karl Darlow in August 2014, emerged as a leader from the wreckage of the club’s slip into the Sky Bet Championship in 2016, providing a defiant voice in the dressing room as a 22-year-old to prompt then-manager Rafael Benitez to hand him the armband.

He helped Benitez’s side to win promotion at the first attempt, but has found his chances limited since the influx of signings under the new owners, with Kieran Trippier deputising as captain in his absence.

However, he was a rock at the heart of a team which dumped treble-winners Manchester City out of the Carabao Cup last Wednesday evening and similarly resolute as Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele, Goncalo Ramos and Randal Kolo Muani came calling a week later.

That provided the foundation upon which a famous victory was built courtesy of goals from Miguel Almiron, Sean Longstaff, Dan Burn and – after Lucas Hernandez had pulled one back – Fabian Schar.

Asked if that kind of result had featured even in his wildest dreams, Howe said: “I thought it was an even game. I thought they had some moments where they hurt us, I thought we had some moments where we hurt them.

“But to score four goals wasn’t necessarily something that we expected to do, but I’m just delighted that we were able to do that in front of our supporters. It’s a very special night.”

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