Alan Shearer states what Sean Longstaff must do to become 'unbelievable'
Alan Shearer shares what Sean Longstaff must do to become 'unbelievable'
Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Alan Shearer shares what Sean Longstaff must do to become 'unbelievable'

Sean Longstaff was outstanding in Newcastle’s 1-0 win over Fulham, and Toon legend Alan Shearer believes he is on the cusp of becoming an ‘unbelievable midfielder’.

The 25-year-old played an important role in the Magpies’ latest Premier League win. He was forced to operate in the ‘number six’ role after half time, with Bruno Guimaraes forced off due to injury.

It was a big ask of Longstaff, but he stepped up and delivered. A formation change late on then saw him play as a pair alongside Joelinton, and it was the local lad’s cross that resulted in Alexander Isak netting the winner in the 89th minute.

Longstaff is not the most popular player on Tyneside. While the Toon Army love Eddie Howe’s team, Longstaff is often a player whose performances go under the radar, with fans keen to jump on any mistake he makes.

But, bar a wild shot in the second half against Fulham, the midfielder was excellent. His use of the ball was brilliant, moving it faster and with more purpose. That is clearly a part of his game that he has worked on, and it is paying dividends now.

Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images

To perform like he did without Bruno alongside him was a real boost, and a massive testament to how much Longstaff has improved over the past 12 months.

Alan Shearer on Sean Longstaff vs Fulham

Newcastle’s number 36 was singled out for praise by Alan Shearer, who spoke about his performance on Match Of The Day 2 on Sunday night.

“We have spoken about Almiron, Joelinton and Schar and the improvement that Eddie Howe has made in these players,” Shearer said.

“But I think someone who has gone under the radar, and perhaps unfairly, is Sean Longstaff.

“His performance today and for a lot of this season has been superb. I thought he controlled a lot of it today. If he could just work on his finishing a little bit it would be a different story.

“He doesn’t half do his bit for the team at winning the ball back. But that’s what I like about him, his first thought is to play the ball forward.”

Shearer added: “The one thing he can work on is his finishing, if he does that he’ll be an unbelievable midfielder.”

An outstanding performance from improving Longstaff

As this fantastic run of Newcastle’s continues, the performances of Sean Longstaff get better and better.

He wouldn’t have been in many fans’ best XI at the start of the season, but he has proven to be a pivotal player. He adds balance to Newcastle’s midfield, and his incredible energy levels make him perfect for Howe’s pressing style.

The academy graduate is getting better on the ball too, which he had to do after the arrival of Brazil international Bruno. Longstaff easily could have slipped down the pecking order after the influx of big money signings, but instead he has stepped up to the challenge.

He is now playing better than he was when he first broke onto the scene in a Newcastle shirt, back when Rafa Benitez gave him his big break in 2019.

As Shearer says, there is just one thing missing from his game right now and that is goals. He has scored just once this season – a tap-in against Fulham away from home.

Longstaff has missed some big chances in recent weeks. He was denied by a wonderful tackle against Fulham in the first half, while he passed up two golden opportunities to give his side the lead in the midweek cup win over Leicester. He also had multiple openings in the 0-0 draw with Leeds, but they passed him by.

That has to be the next thing that Longstaff focuses on in training. Shearer believes it is what can turn him into an ‘unbelievable midfielder’.