Newcastle United captain Jamaal Lascelles’ injury suffered against Bournemouth last time out was a devastating blow to the Magpies, robbing Steve Bruce of one of his most reliable defenders.
The club announced on its official website earlier this week that the 26-year-old is going to be out until the New Year due to a knee problem.
And while his loss as a player is obviously painful for the Magpies boss, he is now also going to have to find a way to fill the massive leadership void Lascelles has left over the busy Christmas period.
Former England international and Sky Sports pundit Paul Robinson believes there are three candidates to take over the captaincy from the former Nottingham Forest man: goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, centre half Ciaran Clark and midfielder Jonjo Shelvey.
Of Dubravka Robinson said: “The goalie, that’s not a bad shout actually, he’s going to play every week, he’s an older head, experienced as well, that’s not a bad shout, another contender,” he told Football Insider.
Robinson has hit the nail on the head, here. There is only one man for the job of interim Newcastle captain, and it’s Dubravka. The Slovakian international is one of team’s best players, without a doubt, and as such will be playing every single week for Bruce’s side.
Furthermore, he is a level-headed guy who leads through example. He can be vocal too, though, barking at his defenders with regularity when the situation calls for it.
Shelvey is not an automatic selection, with his only-recent return to the starting line-up evidence of that. Plus, he is far from reliable. He is a red card risk and has had character issues in the past.
Then there’s Clark, another player who has only regained favour at St James’ Park recently. He has a captain’s personality, but is not reliable enough in terms of being a guaranteed selection every week.
With that said, it must be Dubravka. The 30-year-old is the obvious candidate and would hold the fort admirably for Lascelles.