Newcastle defender Jamaal Lascelles has found himself on the receiving end of high praise from former Premier League player Danny Higginbotham.
The latter is now a pundit at Sky Sports so he still very much in touch with the game of football. And he seems to rate the Toon centre-back quite highly.
“He leads by example, he’s a strong, physical player,” Higginbotham declared on Sky Sports News on Thursday (via ChronicleLive).
“[When I was with him at Nottingham Forest], the one thing that stood about him is that he wanted to learn.
“He’s grown into that [leader] role at Newcastle and the fans absolutely love him.”
Lascelles was a reported £25m target for West Ham during the transfer window but Newcastle wisely rebuffed the Londoners' offer.
He has already begun to show his worth this season, having played two matches for the Magpies. Yet, with a match against Chelsea set for the weekend, plus clashes against Manchester City and Arsenal to follow, Rafa Benitez's side could find things rather difficult in the early fight for survival.
The St James' Park occupants haven't been able to record a win yet this term, losing to Spurs on opening weekend and drawing against Cardiff City in the last. But Lascelles has expressed confidence in his side's ability to get results over the next few matches.
“I wouldn’t say this is a difficult period at all,” he said this week, via the Daily Star. “We’ll get through these next few games. We’ve got a big squad and good players in every area.”
“There’s no need to panic,” he added. “We started last season with two defeats so at least, we’ve come away from Cardiff with something.
“There’s no point dwelling on the negatives. We have to stay positive."