Newcastle midfielder Sean Longstaff had one of his best performances in a Newcastle shirt last Tuesday in the FA Cup win at Oxford. He seemed to suit a more advanced role that allowed him a bit more freedom.
It’s been a very frustrating season for the 22-year-old as he’s been plagued with inconsistency and looks at times to be short on confidence.
We noticed a more commanding Sean when he came on as a second-half substitute against Norwich. He seemed to demand the ball more and looked more like the player who stormed onto the scene in the second half of last season.
At Oxford, Sean was fantastic with a goal and a superb assist on Joelinton’s goal.
Bruce tinkered with the formation a little and had a midfield three consisting of the Longstaff brothers and new signing Nabil Bentaleb. We’ve seen from the last three games how Bentaleb likes to sit very deep in the midfield.
The Algerian looks like a very tidy player who will only get better as he continues to get fully fit.
The Chronicle have published some comments that Sean Longstaff made after the Oxford win that shows how much of an impact Bentaleb is already having at Newcastle.
“At times I feel like I’ve done alright in some games, but it’s been the consistency, really, that’s killed me and maybe results in the games that have made it look a bit worse than maybe it has been, but I’m never really going to get too up and down about it.
“I’m a young lad, I’m still learning my trade, and after food last night [Monday] I spoke to Nabil for a good hour-and-a-half, to be honest about when he was at Tottenham, and he was in a similar position in terms of everything that was going on around him, and he was able to give me some great advice. I really appreciated that.
“He said, ‘You’ve got to try to put everything aside and concentrate on football because it doesn’t last forever’. And it really stuck with me last night and probably playing a little more freely, and I really enjoyed tonight so, hopefully, it’s the start of something.”
It’s fantastic that Nabil has taken Sean under his wing a bit to give him such sage advice. Sean looked a different player at Oxford, and it seems like he’s taken his new teammate’s advice to heart.
Hopefully, as Sean says, it’s the start of something. A return to last season’s form for Sean Longstaff could be just what Newcastle need in the final stretch this season.