Newcastle's midfield maestro Matt Ritchie has revealed how Jamaal Lascelles managed to maintain concentration in the dressing room amid the public feud that surfaced during the transfer window between Rafa Benitez and Mike Ashley.
A war of words ensued during the last transfer window after Benitez suggested the Magpies' owner had not kept his word regarding transfer policy. Although Newcastle have enjoyed a strong start to this season in the Premier League, Ritchie admitted rumours of Rafa Benitez leaving during the summer affected their preparation, while speaking to Chronicle Live.
However Ritchie, who has been the creative engine behind Newcastle's impressive start with 4 assists, says that captain Lascelles was integral in maintaining focus during a turbulent summer.
He said: “In the dressing room the captain has a big impact. When the summer wasn’t smooth sailing, he had a big part to play in the dressing room being calm and focused, and his performances so far this season have been fantastic. Hopefully that can continue.
"Rightly so he gets the plaudits, but he’s been fantastic throughout the club."
Lascelles has headed in both of the winners in Newcastle's last two games, leading to many calling for the Magpies captain to receive a call up from the national side.
Newcastle currently lie in 4th place, just one point behind last season's champions Chelsea. They will travel down to the south coast to face Brighton on Sunday's late kick-off.