Sun 23 Jul 2023, 11:46 · NUFCFEED

Eddie Howe and Jamaal Lascelles hold first pre-match press conference of 2023/24

Eddie Howe and Jamaal Lascelles hold first pre-match press conference of 2023/24
Serena Taylor | Newcastle United
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The Newcastle manager and club captain spoke to the media in Atlanta ahead of the Magpies' first game of the Premier League US Summer Series against Aston Villa in Philadelphia.

Topics discussed included Harvey Barnes, Allan Saint-Maximin, Miguel Almirón, Premier League clubs complaining about NUFC selling to another PIF-owned club, why we won't be signing a striker this summer, and Lascelles continuing as club captain. The press conference ended with Howe giving a glowing tribute to his captain, having seemingly been frustrated at the line of questioning Lascelles was subject to.

We've got a full transcript of the conference for you here, and you can find the video at the bottom of the article:


Keith Downie (Sky Sports): How's the camp been so far over here in the U.S.?

Eddie Howe: It's been really good, we've enjoyed it. The weather's been a bit of a challenge for us, believe it or not. It's been very wet and we've had a bit of lightning as well, so the pitches have been a bit wet. But apart from that, it's been really good. The hotel's been good and we've been well looked after.

Keith Downie (Sky Sports): Can you tell us where you are with the Harvey Barnes move?

Eddie Howe: Nothing's confirmed on any deal. Harvey is a player that I really like but he's still contracted to Leicester so that's as much as I can say really.

Keith Downie (Sky Sports): Last week at Gateshead, you seemed a bit frustrated that things were taking longer than you would have hoped. Are you feeling a bit more content about the situation now? Do you feel the wheels are in motion?

Eddie Howe: I was just trying to explain the summer. It's been, and it will always be, frustrating at times when you're chasing certain players. Then there are more positive days. It's not a simple process because you've got so many moving parts all of the time. But I'm very pleased with Sandro. He's been excellent in training and did really well in the game against Rangers.

Keith Downie (Sky Sports): Joelinton arrived yesterday to what looked like a hero's welcome. Is it good to have him back?

Eddie Howe: That was just a coincidence. We were all waiting in the reception of the hotel as he just came back. We were wet and drenched so it looked like a waiting party for him but it was just pure coincidence.

Keith Downie (Sky Sports): Is there any update at all on Allan?

Eddie Howe: No, just the same. No deal is confirmed. The likelihood is that he will leave but until that's done it's a difficult one to go into too much detail with.

Larry Henry (SBI Soccer): Miguel Almirón is a popular name here in the States from his time with the Atlanta MLS club. How pleased were you with his performances last season?

Eddie Howe: Miggy's a hugely important player for us. Last year he was outstanding. Everyone talks about the goals but he is an incredible presser of the ball. He's a brilliant player, a brilliant team player off the ball. He scored again in pre-season the other day so a really good start for him. He's looked really sharp since he's come back. This is a big season for him and with the various competitions that we're in, we know it's going to be important that everyone contributes.

Journalist: With Allan Saint-Maximin, it's an interesting deal because it's PIF negotiating with PIF, and other Premier League clubs have asked for more scrutiny. What's your response to people questioning that kind of deal more broadly? What do you make of PIF away from Newcastle and what they're doing in Saudi Arabia?

Eddie Howe: The deal's not confirmed, so as I said earlier it's difficult to give too much detail or clarity on certain things. But all I will say is we're governed by the same rules as every other Premier League club regarding deals. We will satisfy every criteria needed to make sure that the deal's above board and done properly.

Craig Hope (The Daily Mail): Is there hope that someone like Harvey Barnes could potentially join the squad this week and feature over here?

Eddie Howe: Yeah, I think there's hope that that could possibly be done, but I'm loath to go into too much detail until it's fully completed.

Craig Hope (The Daily Mail): Outside of Harvey is there anything else that's moved along?

Eddie Howe: Not currently. We are still actively looking for players, but nothing's close or imminent.

Lee Ryder (The Chronicle): Are there any specific positions, perhaps striker, that you're looking at?

Eddie Howe: I think when you look at our striking options we've obviously got two top, top players possibly competing for one position but it depends on what system we play. Then behind that you've got Anthony Gordon who's played central and he's done it very well. Our striking options are pretty solid, and with the price of front players being so high, I don't think that's an area with the budget that we have that we can go into this summer.

Lee Ryder (The Chronicle): In terms of marks out of ten, how happy are you with the transfer business so far this summer?

Eddie Howe: That's a difficult question halfway through. I don't know if I can give it a mark. Mark it at the end, not halfway through.

Lee Ryder (The Chronicle): Are you satisfied, though?

Eddie Howe: I'm really pleased with Sandro. As I said earlier, he looks to be everything that we hoped he would be but we know we've got a few more positions that we need to strengthen if we can.

George Caulkin (The Athletic): Taking the club's own position out of (the situation), how huge has it been this summer to have this new league buying players, trying to buy players, has it made the job of strengthening the squad even more difficult?

Eddie Howe: I don't think it's directly impacted us at all until this moment with Allan. Before then, we were sort of looking from afar and seeing a lot of players moving, a lot of very good players moving, to a new league. I think that's an interesting dynamic that we haven't had for a long time because they're not any players going, they're high-level. So I think that's an interesting development for the Premier League really. Obviously, Allan's deal then brings us into play and we become involved in that, but it would be no different from any other club signing a player that we have. We have a value on his head and that value was met.

David Ornstein (The Athletic): Are you certain that the fee involved with Allan will represent "fair market value"?

Eddie Howe: That's difficult for me to say because I'll have my opinion, but I'm sure it will satisfy the Premier League or whoever looks at the deal.

Lee Marshall (Head of Media & Communications at NUFC): Okay, questions for Jamaal Lascelles.

Keith Downie (Sky Sports): How's it been for you over here? Have the lads been doing anything away from training in terms of team bonding, or has it been full-on pre-season?

Jamaal Lascelles: It's been great for the team. I think since the manager's walked through the door he has always tried to implement a lot of team bonding stuff and we've done bits of that as well since we've been here. We went to the baseball game the other day, which was a fantastic experience for us and a chance for us to see each other outside the training pitch and spend some good time with each other.

Keith Downie (Sky Sports): I know he's sat next to you, but what is an Eddie Howe pre-season like, if you can give us an insight?

Jamaal Lascelles: Very intense, very structured, and very well planned. We know as players that we have quality time with our families in the off-season, but we know that we have to maintain a high level of fitness because the minute we start back it's back to business and it's tough.

Keith Downie (Sky Sports): How much are you looking forward to everything that's going to come this season? Obviously, with the Champions League being the main one, it's something different for the club not being there in 20 years. How exciting is that for you as a player?

Jamaal Lascelles: It's huge and especially for me. I've been here for so long and been through some difficult times at Newcastle, but to see the club in such a great position that we're in now and to be part of that is just so, so exciting and something that we're all looking forward to.

Craig Hope (The Daily Mail): Are you happy in your own head to not play as much as you obviously want to and want to be a part of the journey moving forward, is that a conversation you've had internally?

Jamaal Lascelles: We always have open and honest conversations, but football is a team game and we don't have any individuals in our team. We all want the best for each other, for the team, the club, and the city, and we all understand that. It's a squad game and we're all ready when asked to play and we'll always back the manager with his decisions.

Craig Hope (The Daily Mail): Do you want to stay and be part of it? There's not a desire to go and play more football elsewhere?

Jamaal Lascelles: Of course, I want to stay. I've loved every minute of being at Newcastle. Since I've been here it's been fantastic and being the captain is such a huge, huge honor for me. I'm not that much of a selfish person, I want the team to do well, I want the fans to experience the team doing well, and if it means me missing a few games I'll take on the chin because it's a team game.

Craig Hope (The Daily Mail): You have been here longer than everyone, you've been through a lot, the ups and downs, can you try and explain the difference between two summers ago in York and now you're here in America?

Jamaal Lascelles: (Chuckling). A huge difference. I think the biggest one for me being honest is the manager. Ever since he walked through the door everything has changed. The way the players look at him, how professional things are, the intensity in training, we all bought into it. For me, that's probably the biggest difference. Then, of course, the owners as well. Having owners with huge ambition and belief, that kind of feeds on to the players as well.

Lee Ryder (The Chronicle): Is it a better feeling these days going to work? You've all been through some tough times at Newcastle but now you've all got a smile on your face.

Jamaal Lascelles: Yeah it's fantastic every single day, you want to go in and spend time there. It's not just because we were winning games last year, it's also because of how the training ground is now. There are a lot of things to do, we can spend time with each other, the facilities are better and all the equipment's better, so it's just so much a much better place to be. Winning games helps the general mood of the camp as well.

Lee Ryder (The Chronicle): Have you still got that determination to be the captain that lifts the first trophy?

Jamaal Lascelles: Yeah, of course. I'll always give my all whatever position I'm in like I always have done. I'll always play for the badge and I'll just give my all every single day on and off the pitch.

Simon Bird (The Mirror): You've been a brilliant servant over the years, but with the captaincy is it difficult to captain the club when you're not playing so much? Would Kieran Trippier want to be club captain and succeed you?

Jamaal Lascelles: We've not had that conversation, but me and Tripps are really good friends. And it's not just him, we've got a leadership group where there's me, Trippier, Dan Burn, Matt Ritchie, and Callum Wilson. Since that formed it's taken a huge weight off my shoulders in the sense that we can just share the load between the five of us. We've got a lot of experience in that group. it's just been a huge help and I'm very grateful to have that.

Simon Bird (The Mirror): Personally, what are you hoping for from this season? To play more? To stay at Newcastle?

Jamaal Lascelles: I just want to get as fit as possible over pre-season. We've got a game tomorrow, I want to win that. I'll take it as it goes, just keep pushing and give my all then see how things go.

Lee Marshall attempts to end the press conference.

Eddie Howe: Sorry, can I just add a little bit? I just want to say, with Jamaal in the room, he's been an unbelievable captain for us. Captaincy doesn't just exist on the pitch, it has to exist off the pitch and the two things are so intrinsically linked. A lot of our success last year didn't just come down to the team, it came down to a group of players giving everything on and off the pitch. There was a group of people off the pitch who are absolutely magnificent and Jamaal was one of them. Now, Jamaal wants to play like every player does, but it's how you react if you're not playing that is the key. I just want to pay tribute to what Jamaal did last year and now we move forward together.

Simon Bird (The Mirror): Have you made a decision on who will be your captain?

Eddie Howe: Yeah, Jamaal will be captain.

Lee Marshall ends the press conference.