Eddie Howe has stated that Sean Longstaff has a ‘big part’ to play for Newcastle United this season.
This time last year, the midfielder’s future was uncertain. He was being linked with a move away from St James’ Park and his contract was winding down.
But 2022 brought improvement from Longstaff, and he was able to earn a new deal. He is now contracted to his boyhood club until 2025.
The 24-year-old has shown real improvement under Howe, like so many players, and will be hoping to earn a regular place in the Magpies’ starting XI.
That won’t be easy, but Howe believes Longstaff has an important role at St James’ Park during the upcoming campaign.
Howe on Longstaff
Ahead of Saturday’s game against Nottingham Forest, Howe has spoke to the media. He was asked about how big a season it could be for Longstaff after signing a new contract earlier in the summer.
“I think he’s in a very similar bracket to a number of our players,” Howe said.
“I think he’s a very good age, he’s got very good experience behind him. And I’m looking for a big season from him.
“Since I’ve started working with Sean, I’ve seen someone who’s really committed to becoming the best player he can be. Every day in training he gives everything. He loves the club. He’s here until late almost every day and you can hear his infectious laugh throughout the training ground.
“He’s got a big part to play this season.”
Tough team to get in for Longstaff
While Howe has high hopes for Longstaff, there are no guarantees that he will play every week. Newcastle have lots of midfield options – even more so than last season.
Bruno Guimaraes is a guaranteed starter, and Joelinton feels like one too. That leaves one place left in Howe’s preferred midfield three.
Jonjo Shelvey would be the favourite to start on Saturday, but he’s now injured. Another option is Joe Willock, who we expect to get the nod over Longstaff.
Then there are two other options. Elliot Anderson has played there in pre-season and excelled, while Sean’s younger brother Matty is still with the first-team. However, it would be a real shock to see him in Premier League action.
Sean Longstaff might have to bide his time and wait for his chance, like he did last season under Howe. But he ended the campaign in impressive form, and will be keen to carry that on.
He’s impressing in training and looking to better himself, which is all you can ask for from the local lad. Howe expects a big season from Longstaff, and hopefully that proves to be the case.