Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce is confident that Toon captain Jamaal Lascelles is good enough to represent England on the international stage, and has called for Gareth Southgate to reconsider his position, as told to the Chronicle.
The Three Lions head coach has previously taken a look at Lascelles over a potential senior international call-up, but overlooked the Derby-born defender for his latest side, which beat Bulgaria 4-0 on Saturday to maintain a 100 per cent Euro 2020 qualifier record.
Lascelles had represented England throughout the junior levels from Under 19s to U21s, but has not worn the shirt of his country since an U21 friendly defeat to France in 2014 (TransferMarkt).
Since that November night at the Stade Francis-Le Ble, 37 players have been handed their senior international England debuts (TransferMarkt), with Michael Keane, Harry Maguire, Joe Gomez, James Tarkowski, and Lewis Dunk the only centre-backs, while Tyrone Mings has been named in Southgate’s latest squad.
Mings’ inclusion has appeared to come as a surprise to Bruce, as he noted the Aston Villa man’s call-up while stating that Lascelles is good enough for selection.
“That is the next big step for him.” Bruce said of Lascelles after Southgate looked elsewhere. “You have just seen Tyrone Mings appear from nowhere.
“All you can do is keep playing well on the biggest stage. I have been very, very pleased with him.
“The next step is now Gareth Southgate. And Gareth is welcome to his opinion.”
Mings’ call-up came after the 26-year-old helped Aston Villa secure promotion out of the Championship as play-off winners last season, having joined the Birmingham-based outfit on an initial loan deal in January (BBC).
Dean Smith’s side converted his temporary transfer into a permanent arrangement this summer for £20million (BBC), and have started the campaign with one clean sheet in four games – the same as Newcastle, who sit four places higher in the table.
Comparing Mings and Lascelles’ start to the Premier League campaign would suggest either have a case for a senior England call-up over the other, as both have edged an advantage in different areas of their game.
Mings, for example, has attempted and completed fewer tackles per ninety minutes than Lascelles according to data collected by WhoScored, with the Villans ace averaging 0.5 in both accounts to the Toon star’s 0.8.
Lascelles has also averaged more interceptions (2.6 to 1.5) and blocked more passes (0.5 to 0.3), but Mings has committed fewer fouls (0.5 to 0.8), blocked more shots (2.3 to 1.0) and registered a league-high number of clearances (9.8 to 5.6).
Neither, though, are the best English centre-halves for tackles, with John Stones and James Tarkowski both winning on average 3.0 per ninety minutes, or aerial success, with Michael Keane winning 5.8 of 11 duels, but Lascelles is the best English central defender in terms of interceptions so far this term.
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