The Newcastle United supporters have been in fine spirits in the Transfer Tavern since they recorded a memorable 1-0 win over Manchester United at St James’ Park.
The Magpies still have a long way to go to secure their Premier League status this season, but they took a giant step towards survival by defeating the Red Devils on Sunday afternoon. Matt Ritchie scored the only goal of the game after 65 minutes with a fine finish beyond a sprawling David De Gea after Dwight Gayle had knocked the ball down for him inside the area, but there were plenty of heroes in black and white aside from Ritchie.
In the aftermath of proceedings, the central-midfield pairing of Jonjo Shelvey and Mo Diame were lauded in the media for their battling display at the heart of Newcastle’s midfield. The former collected the man of the match award for his efforts, but he was somewhat fortunate to be handed the award considering the level of performance displayed by Newcastle’s captain Jamaal Lascelles (valued at (£6.3 million by Transfermarkt).
Lascelles was simply immense at the centre of Newcastle’s defence all afternoon alongside Florian Lejeune, and his performance will certainly have raised some eyebrows amongst the hierarchy at the top-six clubs. His performance contained everything you would expect from a captain leading his side into battle against arguably the biggest club in English football, and if he continues in the same vein for the remainder of the season then he will certainly be in contention for an England call-up.
The fact that Lascelles has not yet been called up for international duty is something of a mystery, as he has thoroughly deserved a call-up based on his performances for The Magpies so far this season. It’s unlikely that Lascelles absence from the international squad will continue much longer, and when he does eventually earn his first cap the club must be prepared to offer him an improved contract.
Lascelles has not been the subject of a rival bid this season, but that could all change at the end of the season when the top-six clubs begin identifying their transfer targets based on performances from this season. If Lascelles earns an England call-up for the World Cup then there will be even further reason for rival clubs to attempt to lure him away from St James’ Park, so Newcastle simply must make a statement of intent by securing his long-term future before he has a chance to impress at the World Cup next summer.