Unless you have been living underneath a rock, you probably already have heard about the scuffle that occurred at a Newcastle training session this past weekend.
The scuffle involved captain Jamaal Lascelles and the older Mo Diame. The scuffle was broken up by Jonjo Shelvey who sustained a minor hand injury as a result but, luckily, won’t be missing any game time.
The important thing to note here, the whole reason that a person like myself who does not write opinionated articles felt the need to write one, is the whole reason the fight occurred. Lascelles reportedly said Diame was lazy, which obviously pissed off the seasoned veteran.
This accusation is so important not because it is absolutely true in the minds of many fans (including myself), but because it is another example of Jamaal Lascelles stepping up to be a leader of this team.
Lascelles of course has had an outstanding start to the season, being a hero multiple times already, and providing consistency on a back line that has had so many players rotating in and out. This amazing play has been rewarded in a huge contract extension announced a few days back , but what has been under looked all season has actually been the leadership of the young lad.
Newcastle has started off the season looking like they belong back in the Premier League. With a decent first game, that eventually was followed by an impressive string of wins and drawing against a much better Liverpool side. A lot of credit of course goes to Rafa and the master tactician that he is, but the morale and motivation of the players falls for the most part on the captain. Lascelles has been brilliant in that department, with Newcastle playing with the same sort of drive and desire to win that they did last season during Lascelles’ first full season as captain.
A few paragraphs a go I mentioned that Lascelles calling out Diame was another example of this continued sense of leadership that Lascelles has displayed since he was thrust into the spotlight for his comments on the team towards the end of the relegation season. Before I am attacked for essentially encouraging conflict on the team I want to point a few key things about this scenario.
First and foremost, it is important to note that training session scuffles are simply not uncommon. This year alone Naby Keita, Neymar and Sergio Busquets were all involved in training camps scuffles. In fact if you simply google “training camp bust up” you can spend an entire day reading articles, watching fights and listening to remarks on various scuffles. When Ayoze Perez was asked about this scuffle he had this to say:
“I’m not going to comment anything about that. It is something that happens with every English team, we have a great dressing room, a great spirit and that is nothing important. We are not going to comment on that.”
Like Ayoze said, the scuffle isn’t that important.
Secondly, we don’t know the full story. All we know is that Lascelles called Diame out for being lazy. This is something that you want your captain to do, and for that reason alone I think this is a great thing. We don’t actually know what happened after that besides the fact that there was a fight and Shelvey had to break it up.
Lastly, what he said about Diame had to be said. Lascelles is one of the key motivators for this team, if not the key motivator. Like anyone else on the team, he wants the team to succeed and if that hurts feelings in the process... oh well. The fact of the matter is that Diame needed the motivation. He has been awful so far this season and this is something that both fans and experts have agreed upon. Diame has not reached a match rating near the 7.0 mark at all this season according to the statistical site whoscored.com, and you as fans have not rated him above a 6.4 in our fan ratings. Diame needed criticism and I am glad Lascelles stepped up, as a captain should, and kept Diame in check. Let’s be real for a second. Lascelles was probably right. Diame has looked lazy in game all season, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he was lazy during training.
All in all, Lascelles has been a great leader as captain of Newcastle so far. Him calling out a player who has vastly underperformed this season was another display of leadership from the young captain, even if it resulted in a scuffle. Those are my thoughts, what are yours?