Jamaal Lascelles has lauded Nottingham Forest and credited the club for helping him become the player he is at Newcastle. On Saturday, the defender could line up against the Reds as the Premier League campaign gets underway.
Head into the Forest academy and one of Lascelles’ shirts is placed on the wall. The Derby-born star signed for the Reds as a nine-year-old and progressed through the ranks to play 65 times for the senior team.
Forest head to St James’ Park at the weekend for their first Premier League fixture for 23 years. The Reds won promotion during 2021/22 after defeating Huddersfield Town in the Championship play-off final at Wembley.
Interestingly, the Reds were linked with Lascelles. Forest targeted the 28-year-old before turning their attention to other defensive targets.
Now, it seems as though the Newcastle captain will stay at the club to provide competition. Sven Botman has arrived from Lille this summer and he could oust the former Reds star from the team on a regular basis.
Ahead of this weekend’s clash, Lascelles has been quizzed on Forest. He has spoken fondly of his time at the football club and has suggested it’s great to see the Reds back in the Premier League for the 2022/23 campaign.
Lascelles told Sky Sports: “It’s fantastic to see them where they are. Obviously, it’s a huge club with lots of history and I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for them. Credit to Forest but we want to get the win with it being the first game of the season.”
Forest lauded by Lascelles and he would have been a useful signing
The Reds targeted the defender earlier this summer and it was a move that made sense. Lascelles is unlikely to play much during 2022/23, with Newcastle holding lofty ambitions ahead of the new Premier League campaign.
Instead, Forest chose a younger option. Steve Cooper signed Moussa Niakhate from Mainz, with Joe Worrall, Scott McKenna and Steve Cook providing further options for the Reds to choose from this season.
Still, Lascelles might have been useful. Paid £55,000-a-week, he would have provided a proven Premier League option and perhaps provided an upgrade on the options available to Cooper for the 2021/22 campaign.
Forest will head to Newcastle in confident spirits. For Lascelles, he might get a good idea of the part he will play this season when Eddie Howe names his team for the first game of the 2022/23 campaign.