Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez has revealed the reason why his captain, Jamaal Lascelles, had to be withdrawn at half-time in the 2-1 defeat to Arsenal at St James' Park.
As reported by Shields Gazette, Benitez claimed that the former Nottingham Forest man sustained an injury in the warm-up, but wanted to start the game anyway. However, Lascelles struggled against the Gunners for 45 minutes before being replaced by eventual Toon goalscorer Ciaran Clark.
Benitez said: “He twisted his ankle in the warm-up. He was trying in the first half and we had to make the substitution, so, in the end, it was one less option for us to change things during the second half.”
When asked if he thinks the 24-year-old will be ready, Benitez replied: "We will see. The doctor said we need to check in a couple of days and see how he's going on."
Lascelles had become a father before the Arsenal game, meaning he will be a busy man as he rehabilitates his injury whilst looking after his newborn child.
In terms of his football, however, Benitez feels that the new arrival to the Lascelles family could help the defender mature on the pitch as well as off it.
The Spaniard added: "For every young player they get to realise what responsibility is about. He is now taking care of somebody who he has to protect over everything.
Sad to see Rafa Benitez looking so dejected in the post-match press conference at St James' Park on Saturday. A dignified football man clearly frustrated at the situation at Newcastle, hamstrung by the lack of funds from the owner, but unable to say what he really feels— Layth (@laythy29) September 16, 2018
“It gives him more responsibility and sometimes this can be quite positive for the development of a player.”
Newcastle are yet to win a game in the Premier League this season, having drawn one and lost four. However, they have played Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City, so they will be hoping that they can truly kickstart their campaign against the Eagles next weekend.