Newcastle United captain Jamaal Lascelles has named Magpies trio Jonjo Shelvey, Miguel Almiron and Joelinton as the players who have impressed him this pre season.
The Brazilian was brought in for a club record fee from Hoffenheim last month and, while Lascelles does mention Messrs Shelvey and Almiron, the bulk of his praise is for the frontman.
“We’re getting Jonjo, in that holding role, on the ball with the wide wing-backs getting in behind,” he told The Chronicle. “Miguel and Jo are causing problems up front.”
Of the latter, he said: “His all-round frontman play is really good. I’ve played against him in training a few times, and he’s a real handful. He’s a big boy, he’s fast, he’s fit, he’s got great feet and he can finish. That’s everything you want from a striker and more. I think it’s a great bit of business. I’m really pleased for him.”
Shelvey has certainly been given a more prominent role under new head coach Steve Bruce than he enjoyed under former boss Rafael Benitez last season. The England international is a bit marmite in his play and his personality, but it certainly seems as if Bruce likes what he’s selling. The former Swansea City man is able to dictate the pace of a game, and his passing ability should marry well with the wing backs seemingly getting forward even more under Bruce than they did with Rafa in charge. Joelinton and Almiron would appear to be the main partnership up front for Newcastle moving forward. The Magpies have been playing with wing backs and a midfield three in pre season, leaving room for just two attackers. It appears that the two South Americans are Bruce’s number one options in the final third of the pitch and, listening to Lascelles, you can certainly see why Joelinton is leading the line. The Brazilian sounds like a real player from what the skipper is saying, so let’s hope he can deliver when it counts now.