Mon 23 Oct 2023, 14:59 · Ash Harrison

‘I don’t take it for granted’: 29-year-old Newcastle man says there’s plenty years left in him

‘I don’t take it for granted’: 29-year-old Newcastle man says there’s plenty years left in him
Mike Stobe/Getty Images
Share Tweet

In a couple of weeks, Newcastle United's club captain Jamaal Lascelles will turn 30 but the big defender is showing no signs of slowing down.

As an old-timer these days, I remember the days when 30 used to be an unspoken cut-off point for players in the Premier League. It was seen as all downhill from there, to the point where even in 2023 when a player in my Football Manager side turns 30 I'm looking to offload them. Old habits die hard.

The truth of the matter, though, is that players are so unbelievably fit these days, so well looked after, that they can play at the top level well into their thirties. Zlatan Ibrahimovic retired at 41 and he could still get into a few Premier League sides.

Jamaal Lascelles says he feels the same now as he did five years ago

With that in mind, it's no real surprise to hear Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles say he still feels great and has every intention to play on for a long time yet.

Lascelles said in a brilliant interview with the club that he doesn't take what he does for granted.

"Physically, I feel like the same person I was five or six years ago. I'd still say I'm a decent athlete. I look after myself and I think my game has improved.

I'm a lot more calmer. I was a bit fiery and more emotional as a younger captain whereas now I think about things a little bit more. It's crazy how fast football can go.

I love football and as long as my body can let me play, I would continue for as long as I could. Football is a short career so why not play for as long you can?

It is most people's dream to be a professional footballer so I don't take it for granted because I know many would love to be in that position."

Oh captain, my captain

Lascelles was made captain by Rafa Benitez following an extremely blunt post-match interview where Lascelles laid into the Newcastle players, accusing them of laziness and saying they need to start taking things seriously. Lascelles' words inspired the fans and Benitez but weren't enough to prevent Newcastle from being relegated.

The former Nottingham Forest man has remained captain for every manager since Benitez and despite being told he wouldn't be first-choice under Eddie Howe, the gaffer told him he would still remain club captain, while Kieran Trippier would be team captain unless Lascelles is on the pitch. A shrewd move by Eddie Howe that has worked flawlessly.

Lascelles is enjoying his time to shine in the first team right now with Sven Botman missing through injury, and the highest compliment we can give Lascelles is that we've barely felt Botman's absence.