Newcastle United are close to announcing that captain Jamaal Lascelles has agreed a new-five year contract at St James' Park, according to The Telegraph.
Lascelles has been highly praised by pundits, as well as his manager in recent games, after his performances have been influential in driving Newcastle's recent run of good form.
Lascelles bagged the winner against Stoke on Saturday, his second winning goal in as many games, after also scoring an almost identical header to earn all three points against Swansea the week before.
The English centre-back has not only been vital for Newcastle in the goal-scoring department, but has also been influential at the back leading his defensive line with some physical and composed play, to snuff out the likes of Choupo-Moting and Wilfried Bony in the last two games.
Benitez made Lascelles captain after Newcastle's relegation to the Championship in 2016. The Spaniard has also always believed he could turn him into an international player, by strengthening his defensive capabilities, adding to the leadership skills he already possessed.
It seems as though Benitez has already made Lascelles a better player and although an England call-up doesn't seem too likely at the moment, the Newcastle boss is still very keen to tie him down to a long term deal, despite the 23-year-old still having three years left on his current deal.
The new contract also suggests that Rafa Benitez is planning to stay as the long-term manager of the Magpies, as he looks to keep his best players for future seasons.