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This Decision By Rafa Has Paid Big Dividends For Newcastle

In the summer of 2018, Sean Longstaff was not expected by many Newcastle fans to have any sort of impact on last season. By this past summer, the 21-year-old was widely regarded as the future of Newcastle.

Sean reportedly had loan moves lined up last year before Rafa Benitez decided to hold him back. Like a similar decision with goalkeeper Freddie Woodman, one would assume that Rafa held Sean back due to the ultra-cautious nature of the former-Newcastle manager.

In an article he has penned for the Athletic, Rafa explains that it was not due to precaution that Sean was kept at Newcastle last season but that he saw something in the Geordie midfielder.

When writing about Rangers manager and former Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard, Rafa wrote this about young Sean:

“In fact, in the summer of last year, Stevie called me about Sean Longstaff.

“Rangers were interested and he asked whether they could sign him on loan, but I told him ‘no’ – he’d be staying at Newcastle United.

“Some people have said, ‘Oh, Rafa was lucky because of Longstaff’ but we’d been watching him and we were happy with him, we played him in the first-team, supported him and gave him confidence.

“Turning Rangers down is proof of what we thought of Sean.”

That decision to turn down Gerrard proved a very astute one by Rafa Benitez. It’s impact was massive last season as Longstaff cemented himself in the Newcastle side before his unfortunate knee injury. It also gave Newcastle fans a chance to get behind one of their own again.

A similar decision seems to have happened this year with Sean’s younger brother Matty under Steve Bruce. Bruce kept Matty with the first-team because he liked what he saw during pre-season. Bruce would have also seen the impact the elder Longstaff had last year and maybe thought to himself, can lightning strike twice?

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11 comments so far

  • Jail for Ashley

    Oct 17, 2019 at 11:47 AM

    Comment #1

    Depends what you consider long, I think the team will look very different to what it was under Rafa in just a couple of seasons.

  • toon22

    Oct 17, 2019 at 12:01 PM

    Comment #2

    Funny how giving a world class manager some say in a football team would be beneficial to a team long term

    Who would have guessed

  • geordietom

    Oct 17, 2019 at 12:39 PM

    Comment #3

    gazza has been found guilty ….

  • RobLeenio

    Oct 17, 2019 at 12:49 PM

    Comment #5

    I thought it was just pure fluke that Rafa had to throw Sean Longstaff in and that he was successful. Nothing to do with planning, foresight, experience and intelligence.

    Silly me


  • martoon

    Oct 17, 2019 at 12:57 PM

    Comment #6

    geordietom – he’s been found not guilty of a sexual assault but I’ve a feeling he might be found guilty of the lesser assault charge – a compromise really?

  • Mindshaft

    Oct 17, 2019 at 1:06 PM

    Comment #7

    Martoon, probably – not sure any of us on here would have gotten off with first charge.
    In all honesty locking the idiot up and away from alcohol / drugs would do us all a favour including himself
    Saw him a few weeks ago in London and he was pissed as a fart shouting his mouth off – he’s an embarrassment to the Geordie nation

  • geordietom

    Oct 17, 2019 at 1:10 PM

    Comment #8


    guess so mate …

  • geordietom

    Oct 17, 2019 at 1:14 PM

    Comment #9

    see how the internet tell’s lie’s one outlet said guilty of sexual assault and another one says not guilty but guilty on a lesser charge …

  • RobLeenio

    Oct 17, 2019 at 1:29 PM

    Comment #10

    Re the new manager at the dark place, I actually think Phil Parkinson is a very good appointment for them. I would think he’ll get them promoted next season if not this and then start pushing towards promotion from the Championship.

    With a following wind and a bit of luck, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that they could be promoted to the Premier League in time for the 2021-22 season.

    No matter what we all like to think, their current position is a false one and they belong in the Premier League. I’ll be pleased to see them back – just to be humbled and beaten twice a season, of course.

  • geordietom

    Oct 17, 2019 at 6:14 PM

    Comment #11



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