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Jamaal Lascelles on Newcastle's 'fantastic' centre-backs - and the pressure he feels to perform

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Jamaal Lascelles admits he must perform to his very best if he is to ensure he starts regularly for Newcastle United following the “fantastic” performances delivered by his fellow centre-backs.

"There's loads of competition in my area of the pitch and it's so important that we have that because it pushes ourselves to train harder, and try to keep your spot,” Lascelles said when asked how he rated the performances of his fellow centre-backs during his absence.

The Magpies' captain missed a month due to a shoulder problem before returning to skipper United to a welcome 1-1 draw against Everton at Goodison Park on Wednesday night.

In Lascelles’ absence, summer signings Federico Fernandez and Fabian Schar established an encouraging partnership at the heart of United’s backline, while Ciaran Clark also impressed when playing in a three-man central-defence at Turf Moor last month.

Lascelles therefore is likely to retain his place in the side and, with his shoulder injury having fully healed, the 25-year-old is now focusing on regaining full match sharpness by getting minutes into his legs.

Lascelles himself put in a positive display during his return on Merseyside in a five-man defence, and accepts he must maintain such standards if he is to keep his place in the side – particularly if Rafa Benitez opts to revert to a flat back four against Wolverhampton Wanderers at St James’ Park on Sunday.

As players, you're going to get knocks here and there, but the physios have done a good job to get me back and playing as quickly as possible,” Lascelles added.
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