June 19 2013 Latest news:
Liam Osborne, Sports reporter
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
On-loan Nottingham Forset defender speaks to the Comet about his hopes for the future after breaking into the first team at Boro
JAMAAL Lascelles’ dream end to the season is to stand aloft in the Royal Box at Wembley on May 26 celebrating Stevenage’s promotion into the Championship.
The 18-year-old defender, on loan from Nottingham Forest, has clearly got the taste for first-team football. He made his first start for the club at Yeovil on Saturday in which he scored his first professional goal, before starting and impressing again during the crucial win against Carlisle United on Tuesday night. He is a centre-half by trade, and was even the subject of a rejected £5million bid from Arsenal in January despite only making one start for the Championship club this season.
But the England youth international comes across as a very grounded young man who is eager to show his capabilities in League 1 despite playing out of position at right-back under Gary Smith.
His arrival at the Lamex Stadium in early March went largely unnoticed, and some fans can be forgiven for wondering why he was brought in given that Boro’s back four has largely picked itself for three years. But he got his chance at right-back after Ronnie Henry was forced out of the trip to Yeovil with illness, and judging by his last two performances, there is plenty for supporters to be excited about.
“It’s been a great experience so far. Obviously at first I wasn’t starting but I’ve been patient and it’s starting to pay off now so I’ve just got to keep making sure I’m doing the job,” Lascelles told the Comet.
“I’m a young lad coming to a good club like this so I’m really pleased to be here. Now I’m starting to get more games it’s really helping me and is great for my experience so if I keep playing well hopefully I keep starting.
“Playing in the first team is quality and I hope it can continue. It’s a great time to be involved because we’re fighting for promotion. The team chemistry is fantastic and the boys are really good with me, as they are with each other. It’s just a winning environment so it’s a pleasure to be around.”
Lascelles says he is relishing playing alongside the likes of Mark Roberts and Jon Ashton in the back four, and insists his game will come on leaps and bounds with their tutorship in games – something he just wasn’t able to get playing reserve team matches at the City Ground.
“They are the best people I’ve played with,” he said. “They are so talkative and really good at communicating with me because obviously I’m a young lad playing out of position. They are my eyes and they constantly talk to me – they are real leaders. But it’s not just them, it’s every single one of the boys and this is a quality team.
“Since I was eight I’ve always played centre half and it’s only since I’ve come here that I’ve been playing right-back. So it’s new to me but I think I’ve been fitting in alright and hopefully I can keep taking on board what people are saying to me and keep on doing the job to the best of my ability.
“The dream end to the season for me would be to keep my place at right back and hopefully get into the play-offs, get to Wembley and win promotion. That would be amazing to play at Wembley as an 18-year-old so hopefully we can achieve that.”
His manager also sung the praises of the Derby-born defender following his impressive display on Tuesday night.
Smith said: “We got the ball out wide nice and quickly and Jamaal has come in at right-back and, for a young lad without much experience – especially not at right back – he has shown a wonderful edge to him in that area. I thought he was absolutely fantastic and he was comfortable on the ball and assured defensively.”