JAMAAL LASCELLES has committed his long-term future to Newcastle United by signing a new six-year contract that ties him to the club until the summer of 2023.

Having made Lascelles captain ahead of last season’s successful Championship title-winning campaign, Rafael Benitez had been keen to remove any doubt about the skipper’s future by agreeing a new deal.

Talks began in the summer, with the centre-half’s previous deal having been due to expire in 2020, and a reached a successful conclusion earlier this week.

Lascelles’ new contract is understood to represent a marked improvement on his previous deal, and is effectively a reward for his impressive leadership during last season’s promotion push and the opening two months of the current campaign.

The 24-year-old started the season on the substitutes’ bench, but has not looked back since replacing Florian Lejeune in the opening game against Tottenham. He scored in successive matches against Swansea and Stoke, and has been touted as a contender for Gareth Southgate’s England squad for next month’s friendlies against Germany and Brazil.

“As soon as I made the decision to make Jamaal the captain of Newcastle United, he rose to the challenge and he has developed as a player and a character,” said Benitez. “He has proven himself to be a very good leader and a good role model too.

“He has also improved as a player, responding well to our advice and guidance and getting better with every game. I would like to congratulate him on his new contract with the club, it is very well deserved.”​

Lascelles has developed a strong bond with Newcastle since moving from Nottingham Forest in 2014. He spent his first season as a Magpies player back on loan at the City Ground, but his forceful personality came to the fore when he challenged some of his more experienced team-mates towards the end of the 2015-16 season that saw Newcastle drop out of the Premier League.

He is a key member of the squad Benitez has assembled at St James’ Park, and yesterday’s developments confirm Mike Ashley’s continued desire to ensure his key performers are locked in to long-term agreements.

“I’m over the moon,” said Lascelles. “Since I came to Newcastle, I’ve been happy - I love the city, the football and the fans. Everything about it, I enjoy so I’m happy to be tied down for the next six years here.

“We’ve got a group of ambitious lads, the fans are excellent and the manager has got trust in me, so I’m really happy here and I want to take the club as high as it can go.”