Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe has heaped praise on Sean Longstaff, but believes there is even more to come from the local lad.
The 25-year-old is arguably playing the best football of his Toon career right now, and is certainly back to the level he was when he burst onto the scene in 2019.
It has taken a long time to re-find his form, but Longstaff is now a key cog in the Newcastle machine. That is a testament to his performances, having started the year with his future at the club uncertain.
His contract was winding down, and he was not in the starting XI. Then his hopes were worsened when Brazil international Bruno Guimaraes arrived.
But Howe asked Longstaff to give him a chance, promising that he would get an opportunity to show what he is capable of.
Since signing a new contract last year, Longstaff has had plenty of chances, and is now a consistent starter. He began the season on the bench, but injury gave him an opening that he has seized with both hands.
Longstaff has played every minute of Newcastle’s previous 12 Premier League games, and appears to be getting better and better each week. He was particularly brilliant in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Fulham, stepping up after Bruno was forced off due to injury.
Eddie Howe on Sean Longstaff
Howe has spoke to the media ahead of the game against Crystal Palace on Saturday evening. He was asked about Longstaff’s form, with the Toon boss believing that he is capable of even more.
“He’s been excellent,” Howe said.
“He does a lot of tireless work for the team in every phase. I think he’s improved in all aspects and I think there’s goals in him as well. Those will hopefully come, but to this point he’s been a vital cog in our team.”
Goals can make Longstaff ‘unbelievable’
Goals are the only thing missing from Longstaff’s game right now. He has scored once this season, nabbing a tap-in during the 4-1 win over Fulham back in October.
The midfielder should have found the net more, and has missed some brilliant chances in recent weeks – particularly in the League Cup win over Leicester.
But Howe thinks goals are right around the corner for Longstaff, and that would take him to the next level in the eyes of Alan Shearer.
The club’s all-time leading goalscorer was full of praise for Longstaff last weekend, and stated he just needs to add goals to his game to become classed as an ‘unbelievable midfielder‘.
That would represent an incredible turnaround for the academy graduate, who has really forced his way into Howe’s plans, and is thriving in a team that is competing for silverware and a place in the Champions League.
Longstaff’s improvement is remarkable, and he is starting to get the recognition he deserves. And Howe has predicted that things could soon get even better.