JAMAAL LASCELLES still pinches himself to think he has been handed the Newcastle United captaincy at such a young age – so knows anything is possible when it comes to football.

Lascelles is trying to keep the rest of the dressing room focused on keeping the Magpies flying high in the Premier League, despite the ongoing takeover talk surrounding the club.

Mike Ashley’s decision to sell has been welcomed by supporters but there is still a great deal of uncertainty hanging around because nobody really knows what the future holds.

Amanda Staveley, the Dubai-based businesswoman working for PCP Capital Partners, is known to be one of the front-runners to buy out Ashley, although she is only carrying out due diligence ahead of making a decision on whether to make a formal offer.

At least three other groups are known to have signed non-disclosure agreements from the continent, with Ashley intent on moving on before Christmas and getting somewhere near to his £400m asking price.

Rafael Benitez’s message to his players is to keep focused on the day job rather than anything else – and that was reflected with a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Lascelles, who had a huge flag held up of him before that game by the Gallowgate Flags group, is leading by example when it comes to keeping everyone’s feet on the ground – even if there are days when he still can’t believe he is the skipper.

“It's obviously a massive deal,” said Lascelles. “Sometimes I'll drive past the ground and look at the stadium and think 'I'm the captain of this club, it's unbelievable.'

"I've got good people around me, very supportive. Obviously, the fans are a big help and the manager's got a lot of trust in me. People have made it easier than maybe I thought it would be.

"I used to think 'who am I to tell a 28-year-old senior pro? When I'm 28 there won't be any 23-year-olds telling me, that's for sure!’ I used to think that, but we've got good lads here, and it's only for a good cause.”

While talk of takeovers has been effectively banned from the training pitch at the club’s Benton complex, it is inevitable the players will discuss the situation.

The skipper said: "To be honest, we don't really look into that. Whatever happens, happens. The manager just tells us to concentrate on football.

"We're not going to be worried about the takeover. It's just football. We'll work hard for the next game. That's all we can worry about it.”

Newcastle are sitting seventh after a positive start to life back in the Premier League. The situation has warmed the hearts of fans knowing Benitez is more than capable of keeping them there – with or without further January spending.

But Lascelles accepts Newcastle must maintain their standards ahead of Monday’s trip to Burnley, who are also pushing high in the table amid suggestions Sean Dyche could be a target for Everton to replace Ronald Koeman.

Lascelles said: "We work so hard in training, I definitely think it's helping us out, just because of how intense we are. We're a young team with an average of 25. You can see on the pitch that we're very intense and we're all very passionate.

"We'll get chances, so if we're switched on at the back, good things happen – and we have been switched on, like you saw against Palace.

“We knew it was going to be difficult. Palace haven't been doing great this season, but they got a good win against Chelsea, and we thought that they'd be coming into that game with a lot of confidence.

"They did. And our teamtalk was 'start the game fast, get them on the back foot'. That's what we did, and eventually things started to fall for us.

"Every game we've played, we've had chances. If we're tight down the other end, which we were (against Palace), these clean sheets will win you things. Overall, I'm very impressed with the boys.”