Gareth Southgate has not called up Jamaal Lascelles for England because he is looking for central defenders who are comfortable playing the ball out from the back, according to Chris Waugh.
The Toon captain has been a solid performer on Tyneside for some time now, but thus far, a Three Lions cap has eluded him.
And writing in a Q&A for The Athletic, Waugh has pinpointed why.
He said: “My understanding of the Lascelles-England situation, though, is that Gareth Southgate wants centre backs who can play it out from the back comfortably, and that is not one of Lascelles’ greatest strengths.
“Selfishly, I am not unduly concerned if he keeps getting overlooked for England; it means he can concentrate on performing for Newcastle instead.”
Lascelles can perhaps feel hard done by after missing out on yet another England squad. The Toon captain has been real leader on the pitch since he was given the armband, and was inspired at times during last season under Rafa Benitez. This season has been similarly impressive so far, and he has averaged 5.5 clearances and 2.5 interceptions per game in the Premier League, as per Whoscored. Lascelles is very much a traditional centre-back in his style of play, and unfortunately for him, the England set-up appears to be a lot more forward thinking and progressive under Southgate. That’s where the Magpies’ skipper falls down a little bit. So far this term he has managed just 0.3 successful dribbles per game, and has made 5.3 unsuccessful short passes. On the basis of that, you can see why Southgate has chosen to go with other options.