BBC pundit has advice for Rafael Benitez regarding Newcastle defender

Newcastle United won against Crystal Palace in the Premier League at the weekend.

Former Tottenham Hotspur forward Garth Crooks has told BBC Sport that Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez should have no problem in maintaining his faith in Jamaal Lascelles.

Crooks was impressed with the performance of the defender in Newcastle’s 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace at home in the Premier League at the weekend.

The former Tottenham and West Bromwich Albion forward has included the 22-year-old in his BBC Premier League Team of the Week.

The Englishman has also suggested that Newcastle manager Benitez should not have any qualms about playing Lascelles in the final two Premier League games of the season.

“Manager Rafa Benitez has only been playing the youngster because of injuries to the experienced Steven Taylor and club captain Fabricio Coloccini,” Crooks told BBC Sport about Lascelles.

“However, the youngster has been so impressive in the games he has played under Benitez, the Spanish manager should have no qualms whatsoever about Lascelles holding the Newcastle fort in their remaining fixtures.”

Crooks has also included Newcastle goalkeeper Karl Darlow in his BBC Premier League Team of the Week.

The 25-year-old, who is the third-choice goalkeeper at Newcastle behind Tim Krul and Rob Elliot, kept out a Yohan Cabaye penalty to help Rafael Benitez’s side pick up all three points from the Premier League match.

“They call them understudy goalkeepers for some reason and I have never understood why,” Crooks told BBC Sport. “Granted Darlow has come in for the injured Tim Krul and Rob Elliot, but with performances like this he is a goalkeeper who should be playing regular first-team football.”

Newcastle are 17th in the Premier League table at the moment with 33 points from 36 matches, just a point above the relegation zone.

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