Lascelles happy at Newcastle, Benitez says

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez is confident skipper Jamaal Lascelles is happy at St James’ Park amid speculation linking him with a big-money summer bid from Chelsea.

The 24-year-old central defender has been hugely impressive as the Magpies have eased their way towards Premier League safety and has been tipped to force his way into the England reckoning.

Reports have claimed Chelsea are preparing a £30m summer bid and a lucrative pay offer to tempt Lascelles away from Tyneside, but Benitez is convinced he is content where he is.

The former Chelsea interim boss said: “He’s happy, training well, he’s improving, he’s focused.

“You can’t stop speculation about players, but I was talking with him for a while last week and the focus is just trying to improve his game.

“I think at the moment he knows he has to continue progressing and learning, but he is quite happy here.”