Lascelles targets Premier League after being named Newcastle captain

Date published: Thursday 4th August 2016 1:32

Jamaal Lascelles: Defender named captain by Rafa Benitez

Jamaal Lascelles has voiced his desire to lead Newcastle back into the Premier League after being appointed club captain by Rafa Benitez.

The Championship newcomers made the announcement on Thursday, just a day before they get their league campaign under way against Fulham at Craven Cottage.

The 22-year-old has played 21 times for the club since moving to St James’ Park from Nottingham Forest in 2014, scoring twice.

Lascelles captained Benitez’s side during pre-season and is thrilled to have been handed the armband on a permanent basis following the departure of Fabricio Coloccini.

He told “It’s an unbelievable feeling for a manager like Rafa Benitez to give me the captain’s armband at a club like this.

“It is a lot of responsibility for a young player but I will always give my all because I want what is best for the team and the club. It is such a proud moment for me and the biggest in my career so far.

“It is nice for someone to show that much trust in you, and I want to repay the manager’s faith by leading this team back into the Premier League.”

Benitez could give debuts to several players on Friday after bringing in eight new faces this summer.

These new signings include striker Dwight Gayle, winger Matt Ritchie and defender Grant Hanley, plus the club’s most recent additions Ciaran Clark and Mohamed Diame, who joined up on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, winger Florian Thauvin has become the latest Magpies player to head for pastures new, returning to former club Marseille on a season-long loan.

He follows the likes of Georginio Wijnaldum, Andros Townsend and long-serving defender Steven Taylor out of the exit door.

Fulham midfielder Scott Parker expects his current club’s supporters to play a big part when his former side visit west London.

He told the club’s official Youtube channel: “I think I stated it many times last season how important the fans can be for us.

“I don’t think they’ll be more important than at this game on Friday, really, because I think Newcastle will bring massive support with them and it’ll be eventful.

“It’s a massive game on Friday against Newcastle so we’re looking forward to it. When you looked at the fixtures coming out, I don’t think there would have been a better fixture for us personally.

“You’ve got one of the title contenders, a top side, coming down to play against us. I think it’s a perfect start for us.

“It’s a real incentive for us to go and beat a top side. It will give us huge confidence pushing on to some games which you look at and you like to think we can go and win some.”

The Whites will begin the new campaign without last season’s top scorer Ross McCormack after the Scottish striker joined recently-relegated Aston Villa for £12million on Thursday.

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