Jamaal Lascelles comments on Rafael Benitez and Steve McClaren

Bruno Saltor of Brighton and Hove Albion and Jamaal Lascelles of Newcastle United  hug after the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Brighton and Hove Albion at St. James'...

Jamaal Lascelles is an important player at Newcastle United.

Jamaal Lascelles of Newcastle United is seen prior to the Emirates FA Cup third round match between Newcastle United and Luton Town at St James' Park on January 6, 2018 in Newcastle upon...

Newcastle United defender Jamaal Lascelles has told The Daily Mail that Rafael Benitez is world class.

Benitez has been in charge of Newcastle since March 2016 and guided the Magpies from the Championship to the Premier League at the end of last season.

The Spaniard, who has managed clubs such as Real Madrid, Liverpool and Chelsea, is hugely popular among the St. James’ Park faithful.

Lascelles has established himself as a key figure at Newcastle under Benitez and is enjoying working with the Spaniard.

Newcastle United's Spanish manager Rafael Benitez shouts instructions to his players from the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Newcastle...

The 24-year-old defender joined the Magpies from Nottingham Forest in the summer of 2014 and remained at the City Ground outfit on loan for the 2014-15 campaign.

The former England Under-21 international central defender has also taken a dig at former Newcastle head coach Steve McClaren for playing him in an unfamiliar position on his debut.

McClaren was the head of Newcastle from June 2015 until March 2016, and did not do well during his short spell at St. James’ Park.

Steve McClaren manager of Newcastle United shakes hands with Jack Colback to celebrate their team's 0-0 draw in the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Newcastle...

“I can see why other people would want him as he is world class,” Lascelles told The Daily Mail about Benitez. “It would be a massive loss for us.

“Since he came in everything has been positive, from the reaction of the fans, the respect of the players and what he gets from the players and how we are playing.

“If he had arrived earlier last time round he would have kept us up. I have come on leaps and bounds since he has been here.”

Lascelles added about playing as a left-back against Manchester City on his debut for Newcastle: “He sent me on as left back against City away. I had never played that position before and was marking Jesus Navas. So thanks for that, Steve…"

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