Opinion: Who will Rafa Benitez choose as club captain?

Fabricio Colocinni, who captained the club for the last five years left Tyneside to return home to San Lorenzo.

Opinion: Who will Rafa Benitez choose as club captain?
Who will be given the responsibility of captaining Newcastle? (Photo: chroniclelive.co.uk)

Rafael Benitez could be on the verge of making his most important decision to date at Newcastle United as he assess who to choose for the next Club Captain.

Benitez knows that the appointment must be the right one for the club and its playing staff if they are to achieve their target of promotion back to the Premier League at the first attempt.  

Here are some possibilities that VAVEL believe could be contenders for the Toon captaincy.

Jamaal Lascelles

Lascelles has been the name that has popped up the most when it comes to Coloccini’s replacement.

The Derby-born defender joined Newcastle from Nottingham Forest in 2014 but was then loaned back to Forest for the 2014/2015 season. Lascelles joined up his United team mates for the first time in 2015 before making his debut in EFL Cup tie win over Northampton.​

In the league, Lascalles found it hard to break into the starting 11 in the first half of the season. But Lascalles finally earned his first league start away to Watford in January 23 where he would score on his debut in a 2-1 defeat.

Lascalles has been a popular name among NUFC fans (Photo: 90min.com)
Lascalles has been a popular name among NUFC fans (Photo: 90min.com)

Injuries to Steven Taylor, Chancel Mbemba and Fabricio Coloccini meant Lascalles would feature regular under Benitez.

The one stand-out moment that really announced Lascalles as a public figure among Newcastle fans was his brutally honest interview after the 3-1 defeat away to Southampton. Lascalles claimed that the United dressing “need bigger characters”, “players that care” and that they “need to play with more heart” and that they “need more desire.”

The 22 year-old’s interview sparked a reaction from Newcastle’s player as they went unbeaten until the end of the season where Lascalles performances were highly credited by the Geordie faithful, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to beat the drop.

The positive reaction certainly indicated that Lascalles was a huge figure in the dressing room.

Chancel Mbemba

The Congo International swapped Anderlecht for Newcastle in the summer of 2015 alongside Aleksander Mitrovic.

Mbemba made a big impression on Tyneside in his first season. The 21-year-old offered intelligence and pace to the United defence where his performances were unjustified by Newcastle’s dodgy defending under Steve McClaren.

The Geordies will be hoping that their prized defender isn’t tempted by a move away from St James’ Park this coming transfer window. Mbemba already has Champions League football under his belt so his expectations may be higher that the second tier of English football.

Giving Mbemba the captaincy could be the answer to nail down his services. For a player at the age of 21, captaining a club will come as some achievement with still a lot of years left of his career still to go.

Jack Colback and Paul Dummett

Could Benitez be tempted to turn to the local lads who arguable know what Newcastle United is all about?

Dummett came through the youth academy at Newcastle where he loaned to Gateshead and St Mirren in 2012 for first team football. Dummett came back after tasting experience elsewhere first team ready in the eyes of Alan Pardew who gave him his Premier League debut as a substitute against Liverpool in October 2013 where he scored in a 2-2 draw.

The left back has established in the United side - going on to make 66 appearances to date.

Newcastle fans will be all-to-familiar with Colback’s route to St James’ Park. Colback came through the youth academy at local rivals, Sunderland. The Killingworth-born midfielder made his first start for The Black Cats against Birmingham City in 2011 and even scored against The Magpies in the 3-0 win for Sunderland at St James’ Park in 2014. 

The last Geordie to Captain Newcastle was Alan Shearer (Photo: mirror.co.uk)
The last Geordie to Captain Newcastle was Alan Shearer (Photo: mirror.co.uk)

Colback decided to go back to his Geordie roots when he refused to sign a new deal at Sunderland paving way for the the 26-year-old to join Newcastle on a free transfer in the summer of 2014.

Indeed, Colback and Dummett are far off reaching the heights of the Geordie club legend, Alan Shearer, and respectfully, probably never will. However, Shearer was the last Geordie to Captain Newcastle in which he led by example.

It could be time to announce a Geordie at the heart of the team once again

Tim Krul

The suggestion of Krul will come as a surprise to most Newcastle fans.

Krul is The Magpies’ longest-serving player who was signed from ADO Den Haag in 2005 as a teenager. The Dutch shot-stopper was highly rated by Newcastle, so high that they decided to gift him his first team debut at the age of 17 in a UEFA Cup tie vs Palmero in which Krul put in a man of the match performance in a 1-0 win.

The Dutchman’s breakthrough began when Krul replaced Steve Harper due to injury in Newcastle’s opening Championship game way to West Brom in 2009 where he helped earn his side a 1-1 draw.

Injuries to Harper meant Krul kept getting his chance to shine, and it was one injury to many for Harper when he dislocated his shoulder away to Everton in September 2010. Krul took his opportunity and cemented his place as Newcastle’s number one becoming an ever-present member of the United starting 11.

Krul has suffered some injuries along the way but the most serious injury came when he was stretchered off on international duty in October 2015. Tests showed that Krul had picked up a serious knee injury that would keep him out for the entire 2015/2016 season.

Now the 28-year-old is on the mend and looks set to be fit ahead of the 2016/2017 season, but it is unclear whether that will be at Newcastle as Krul has been linked with a move to Everton.

If Krul is to stay, then he could be the man that Benitez turns to. He has experience of what it takes to get out of the Championship, experience like that can prove pivotal. And with Krul being the longest-serving player, he will no doubt be a respected figure in the dressing room.

Thinking outside the box

This transfers window looks to be a busy one for Benitez. He has already brought in three players this summer in Matz SelsDwight Gayle and Matt Ritchie which indicates that Newcastle will be busy.

Benitez has been backed with money. If the Spaniard can’t identify a captain in the current dressing room, with Rafa’s experience and reputation, he will bring in a proven captain to steady the ship and someone he can trust to guide the Toon Army back the Premier League.