In the first edition of ‘Talking Points’ we will be taking a look at local boys Sean and Matty Longstaff.
The pair of local central midfielders have both broken into Newcastle’s first team over the past couple of seasons, with Rafa Benitez introducing Sean Longstaff during the previous season, and younger brother Matty also putting his mark on the Magpies in the current campaign. The youngsters are stuck in the middle of a contract standoff, while other clubs including some of Europe’s biggest, are keeping a keen eye on the situation.
We will start by taking a closer look at Sean Longstaff. Being the older brother, Sean had an additional 2 years of experience compared to younger brother Matty. The taller, and more attacking-minded brother gained this experience away from the Premier League, plying his trade in both the Scottish Premier League and the Championship.
While catching the eye representing the Newcastle youth team, it was decided that Sean needed experience at a senior level to further develop his career, he was subsequently sent on loan with fellow Geordies Freddie Woodman and Callum Roberts to Kilmarnock in 2017. This was a successful spell further North, with Sean racking up 16 senior appearances.
Returning to Newcastle, the midfielder impressed Rafa Benitez in pre-season earning a 4 year contract extension running until 2022. He was then rewarded with a loan spell to League One outfit Blackpool.
During his stint in League One, Sean made a name for himself as an energetic player, wth a great passing range and a keen eye for goal. He scored 8 goals for the club in 42 appearances
The following season was the breakthrough season which the local Geordie had been dreaming of. He made his full Premier League debut away at Chelsea, in a match where he did not look out of place against some of the worlds best midfielders. He followed this up with a goal in an FA Cup replay against Blackburn, before playing a vital role in Newcastle’s infamous win against Champions elect Manchester City. He followed up this sparkling run of form with a first Premier League goal against Burnley.
Sean has now become an established Premier League midfielder, attracting interest from Manchester United. He claims he wants to remain at Newcastle United, and in that case the club needs to extend his contract which expires in June 2022.
Matty Longstaff on the other hand is still only 20 years old and has not had the opportunity to gain experience at other levels, instead being thrown straight into the deep end in the Premier League.
He made his full Premier League debut alongside older brother Sean, at St James Park against Manchester United, but did not take him long to find his feet. He offers a tenacious style which complements the more finesse style of Sean. During this game Matty covered the most ground of all players on the pitch whilst netting the only goal of the game which earned the Magpies all three points.
The ball was played into the feet of Allan Saint-Maximin as he took on two Manchester United players. He managed to beat his markers with some excellent close control before laying a ball out wide to Willems who had pushed forward for the attack. The dutchman then returned the ball into the central off the pitch, just outside the box, and just in front on the on-rushing Matty Longstaff. In his own words, it was a hit and hope strike, but not a single soul in the whole of Newcastle would have any problems with that. The ball ended up in the back of the net, beating De Gea, sending St James Park into euphoria.
The game ended 1-0 with the whole city ecstatic, not just that we had beaten Manchester United, but that we did that with our local youngster scoring the vital goal on his debut in front of the home crowd.
These are the moments we go to games for. These are the reasons players want to play for Newcastle United. These are the reasons we need to keep hold of our Longstaff brothers.
With just 3 months remaining on Matty Longstaff’s contract, and 2 years on Seans, this situation needs to be resolved immediately. In a recent twitter poll conducted on NUFC Hotspot Twitter page, 68% of you voted that out of the two brothers, you are more concerned over the future of younger brother Matty, however both are of concern.
Recently, the brothers both switched their agent to Pini Zahavi. This Israelian super-agent is hoping to break down the wall which the club and the players seemed to have reached regarding their contract situation.
Zahavi was the man responsible for Rio Ferdinand’s transfer to Leeds, but I’m hoping in this case he can help the two local boys in signing contract extensions to ensure they remain in the North East.
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