It’s taken a long time, but Sean Longstaff finally looks like the player he was when he first burst onto the scene with Newcastle in 2019.
He quickly established himself as a key player under Rafa Benitez, and looked like the future of the Magpies’ midfield.
The local lad was being talked up as a future England international, while a £50million price tag was slapped on his head amid interest from Manchester United.
Then Longstaff’s career went downhill. Injury struck, Benitez left, and he was never the same during Steve Bruce’s tenure. There was even talk of a move away from St James’ Park.
But now Longstaff is revitalised in black and white, and finally looks like he is back to his best.
Eddie Howe has worked wonders with Sean Longstaff
At the start of the season, no one had Longstaff in their preferred starting XI. Yet he has gone on to become a regular starter for the Magpies.
The 25-year-old has actually started nine of Newcastle’s 13 Premier League games so far, including the past six games which have seen Eddie Howe’s side pick up 16 points.
At the beginning he was playing out of necessity, but now it’s because he deserves to be in the team. Each week he is getting better and better, with his confidence growing game by game. He even had the audacity to try and score from an outrageous angle on Saturday. It didn’t come off, but he was brave enough to try.
Longstaff’s energy and ability to get around the pitch makes him perfect for Howe’s pressing style, and fans are now starting to realise that he has a really important role in this side.
There are still flaws to his game, but the positives massively outweigh the negatives. He’s one of those players that perhaps won’t always get the credit he deserves, but he can and should be very proud of his recent performances.
Teammate Jacob Murphy recently called him ‘Mr Underrated’ on Instagram, and that is so accurate right now.
It’s taken a couple of years, but Longstaff is finally showing signs of the player we thought we had when he emerged in the first-team. He looks like the player who was valued at £50million by Mike Ashley’s Newcastle.
Star names are starting to arrive at St James’ Park, but it is a real delight to see Howe get the best out of players like Longstaff. He has a big role to play in this Newcastle United team.