Newcastle United midfielder Sean Longstaff has paid tribute to Eddie Howe’s style of play for his recent form.
The 25-year-old is enjoying an extended run in the starting lineup, and is getting better week after week. He was fantastic in the 4-0 win over Aston Villa, and finally looks to be getting back to his best.
There was a real buzz when Longstaff first emerged on the scene, but he has since endured a tough couple of years at St James’ Park. His form massively dipped, while he was often criticised by supporters.
But now he is winning those fans over with his performances, and has played an important role in Newcastle’s impressive start to the season. Howe’s side are fourth after the first 13 games, with Longstaff playing more minutes than most people expected.
While he didn’t begin the season in the starting XI, the academy graduate has gone on to start nine of the 13 Premier League games so far.
His initial appearances were enforced due to injury, but now he is in the team on merit. Longstaff has been excellent in recent weeks, and has discussed his return to form.
Longstaff on his recent form
Ahead of the win over Aston Villa, Longstaff conducted an interview for the club’s official programme. He explained why he thinks he is suddenly playing so well.
“I feel like I’ve carried on what I’ve been doing in training, what I’ve been doing in pre-season, carrying out the plan,” he said.
“We want to be front-foot, aggressive, and I think that suits my strengths in being able to get around the pitch.
“With us having a bit more of the ball, there’s things I can improve on and I’m working hard on that. But I think the way the manager wants to play really suits me as a footballer.
“I think the more I play, the more I can be effective in this team, and that can only be better for everyone.”
It’s a shame the World Cup break is imminent
Howe’s style is certainly getting the best out of Longstaff. Newcastle’s pressing has been key to our success, and the midfielder is vital in that department. He has an incredible engine, with a lot of his work off the ball perhaps going unnoticed.
As the midfielder says, he is working hard to get better in possession. That is vital, as the Magpies are starting to see more and more of the ball. Given the talent around him, his attitude and the coaching setup, there is no doubt that Longstaff will improve in that department.
The only disappointing thing is that domestic football is about to go on hiatus. Including the Carabao Cup, Newcastle have just three games to go before the season is put on hold for the World Cup.
That is a blow for Longstaff, who will be keen to carry on his good run of form for as long as possible.
However, he will simply have to ensure that he is ready to pick up where he left off after the tournament. He could have an important role when football resumes, as we don’t know how much football Bruno Guimaraes will play in Qatar.
He might benefit from a post-World Cup break, meaning the likes of Longstaff will need to fill the void left by the talented 24-year-old.
But Longstaff is proving he is up to the task, and shining in a team that is currently in contention to qualify for the Champions League.
Howe is getting the best out of him, and long may it continue.