Darren Bent slammed Newcastle United defender Jamaal Lascelles after his display in the 3-1 loss to Liverpool on Saturday.
The Sky Sports pundit claimed that the Magpies centre-back hasn’t been great this season and stated that the defender was lucky not to give away a penalty after grabbing Reds defender Joel Matip in the box.
Bent added that it was lazy defending as Lascelles only grabbed Matip as he couldn’t be bothered to run and questioned what kind of example the centre-back was setting when you consider he is the club’s captain.
“Lascelles this season hasn’t been great,” Bent told Football Insider.
“He’s grabbing Matip at the corner which should have been a penalty. I don’t know why VAR didn’t check it or what but it was a clear and blatant penalty.
“You can’t defend like that, you’re a centre-half you’ve got to defend properly. You’re the captain as well, you’ve got to defend properly. What example is that setting? What I call that is lazy defending.
“You can’t be bothered to run with him so you just grab him. He was fortunate enough that he wasn’t punished by it.”
Bent has a point. Lascelles was lucky not to give away a penalty on Saturday and he generally struggled against Liverpool. However, considering that the Reds have one of the most formidable front threes in Europe, they have Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane to call upon, most defenders would have struggled against Jurgen Klopp’s side, so it’s hard to be too critical of Lascelles. However Bent is barking up the wrong tree to say that Lascelles hasn’t been great this season, as there have been times where he has showcased his worth. For example, the defender impressed during the 1-0 win over Tottenham recently. The 25-year-old was dubbed Man of the Match by WhoScored for his display against Spurs as he intercepted the ball three times, made an impressive 10 clearances and even put his body on the line to block a shot. While one appearance doesn’t excuse his performances against the Reds or Norwich City, another game in which he struggled, it does seem harsh that Bent criticised Lascelles for his general start to the season.