Sean Longstaff delivered his best Newcastle performance of the season against Arsenal.
The midfielder started for the second game in a row, eight days after he was dominated by Kevin de Bruyne and the Manchester City juggernaut.
Longstaff looked massively off the pace in defeat to Pep Guardiola’s side, raising questions about his long-term future at St James’ Park.
The 24-year-old could leave Newcastle on a free this summer, but he is reportedly close to signing a new deal with the club.
The Chronicle recently claimed that he wanted assurances about his minutes under Eddie Howe. But in turn he needed to prove he deserves first-team minutes.
Injuries to Joe Willock and Jonjo Shelvey have given Longstaff a chance late in the season, but it’s up to him to take it.
While he struggled against Manchester City, he certainly stepped up on Monday night.
Sean Longstaff definitely has a part to play at Newcastle
He started in the middle alongside Bruno Guimaraes and Joelinton, and the trio were relentless. They didn’t give Arsenal any peace.
It was no surprise to see Bruno and Joelinton shine – they’ve been our two best players in 2022, with the latter winning our Player of the Year award . But Longstaff has been less convincing.
But he stepped up in a big way against the Gunners, and proved he has a role in Howe’s midfield. Longstaff was extremely effective with his pressing, and moved the ball nicely.
He actually played a pivotal role in both goals. It was his ball from right to left that eventually led to Benjamin White’s own goal. He then produced a deft dink through to Callum Wilson which eventually allowed Bruno to make it 2-0.
Longstaff was decisive in key moments, and is a player who can definitely improve under Howe. That’s what we want to see – it’s great to watch a local lad donning the black and white stripes.
He might not always be a starter, but the academy graduate can be a reliable player for the Magpies. He’s continuing to grow, and so are Newcastle. They should continue this journey together.