Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez may have unearthed a successor to Liverpool great Steven Gerrard, Stan Collymore has said.
The Spanish boss previously coached the England international midfielder at Anfield, and Collymore, who spent time at Anfield during his playing days, believes that Jamaal Lascelles has the attributes to become just as vital a leader.
Collymore believes many young footballers now are “mollycoddled” and not good at taking on responsibility, but said that the 24-year-old is very different.
“That is one of the reasons, if not the main reason, Jamaal Lascelles has impressed so many people – me among them – with the way he conducts himself at Newcastle,” he said to The Mirror.
“He is happy to call himself out, happy to call out team-mates and his club, if he needs to.
“He demands standards, he is not afraid to ask questions and is a reminder that leadership is always quality.
“And where Lascelles is fortunate is that he has a boss in Rafa Benitez who worked at Liverpool with arguably the best captain in England – and maybe even the world – during the past 20 years.
“Undoubtedly, Benitez would have put an arm round Steven Gerrard from time to time at Anfield and said, ‘Keep your eye on so-and-so’, ‘Let me know what’s happening with such-and-such’, ‘He needs a rollocking, give him one so I don’t have to’.
“And he will have recognised how Gerrard managed Liverpool dressing rooms, something he can pass on to Lascelles.
“If Benitez has found a lite version of Gerrard in the Newcastle skipper, he will be very, very pleased.”