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Local Lad Reveals How He Fought His Way Back Into Bruce’s Thinking

It’s been another season of toil for Sean Longstaff under Steve Bruce. The promising young midfielder has experienced long spells out of the team beginning with the start of the campaign.

Longstaff didn’t get his first league start until the win against Everton in November, though he did start all of the league cup matches. The Everton game began an eight-match string of starts for the local lad culminating in the disappointing defeat at Brentford in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup.

That was one of the many low points of this season as the lads meekly let a fabulous opportunity for a cup semi-final slip away. Steve Bruce had started a very strong squad bringing striker Callum Wilson and then number-one goalkeeper Karl Darlow into the team.

Sean Longstaff was on the bench for the next two matches before returning for the losses to Leicester and Sheffield United, another low point of the season. After the defeat to the Blades, which represented their first win in the league, Longstaff was out of the team for the next few months.

When asked about Sean and his brother Matty’s absence from the team in February, Bruce said that the duo must ‘roll up their sleeves’, ‘be prepared for competition for places’, and ‘find that consistency.’

Sean finally fought his way back into the team. It was after another low point in the 3-0 loss at Brighton just before the international break. Bruce again made wholesale changes to his team and formation.

Longstaff was back in the starting eleven for the draw against Spurs. He had made his first appearance in months as a substitute at the Seagulls. Longstaff played very well against Tottenham and has kept his place during our four-match unbeaten streak.

He gave an interview with NUFC TV earlier in the week and said the following about his recent run of games:

“I’m loving it obviously. To be out for, or not play a game for three months was really frustrating. It would have been quite easy to go the other way.

“That’s not the type of person I am. That’s not the type of person my Mam and Dad raised. When the going gets tough, it’s about finding out who you are really. I’ve got a really good strong group around me.

“There were a lot of times in those three months where I thought I trained really well. I went home and looked myself in the mirror and was happy with what I was doing.

“I knew if I did get a chance, I would be ready. Obviously, what you do in training replicates itself on the pitch.

“So I was confident when I got back in the team. I was just waiting for the opportunity. It probably took longer than I wanted it to. Hopefully, I’m not going to let my chance go past me.”

In his short career so far, Longstaff has struggled for consistency. That seems to go hand in hand with his confidence. Though, he showed great fortitude in getting through his disappointment earlier this year.

Sean did all that he really could do, which was train as hard he possibly could. Later in the interview, he revealed that he’s his own worst critic and is sort of a perfectionist with his training and performances.

This is how Longstaff responded when asked about the high expectations he has set for himself:

“Yes, 100%. The staff says pretty much every day to stop being so hard on myself.

“I want to be perfect in everything that I do. If that doesn’t happen I can sort of beat myself up a little bit.

“I’d rather be that way than let things slide and not do things properly.

“I probably am my own worst critic. It’s probably good at times and not so good at others.

“It’s ultimately about me working hard every day and getting better every day. I feel as though the best way to do that is to be extra critical of myself.”

Unfortunately, Matty Longstaff hasn’t had his opportunity just yet. With the brothers both entering the final year of their current deals, we’ll probably witness another contract saga played out next season.

As for now, all they do is train as hard as possible and hopefully, Matty’s chance will come and Sean will continue to improve as a player.

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60 comments so far

  • Top Banana

    Apr 30, 2021 at 9:51 AM

    Comment #1

    Pleased for the lad.

  • Mund

    Apr 30, 2021 at 9:53 AM

    Comment #2


    You talking nonsense again?

    Plenty of posters agreed it was a good day on the blog. Do you just feel the need to say something to me?

    OP ran this blog down the last week with the anger and abuse he gave to some on here.

    Reilly is a good poster but he hardly contributes other than the odd link.

    Yesterday was a calm and eventful day on the blog. If that wasn’t to your liking? Well I’m sorry if you don’t like civilness and respect to others but that’s how it should be

  • Munster Mag

    Apr 30, 2021 at 9:54 AM

    Comment #3

    Lobby certainly covers some ground but isnt a particularly effective player and made that dreadful no look pass which could have cost us. Someone blamed Bruce for that which isnt really logical. Same with Bonna. But he is certainly putting in the legwork.

  • Mund

    Apr 30, 2021 at 9:56 AM

    Comment #4

    The respect shown from posters and NUFC fans alike yesterday was great to see but you have the odd one left who doesn’t like all nicely nice behaviour on the blog.

    I’d say leave them to it and carry on how yesterday left off.

    We had some great new posters come out and contribute which is always good to see. Long may it continue

  • Top Banana

    Apr 30, 2021 at 9:59 AM

    Comment #5

    Munster Mag

    Sean definitely has the potential; his breakthrough season was hampered by his knock and now a difficult season under Bruce after his head was turned. Understandable really. I like him, he needs top coaching and an improved squad to support his development. Rafa saw his raw talent, that will do for me…..obviously still has a lot to do

  • Top Banana

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:00 AM

    Comment #6

    Reet, back to work for me. Enjoy your mornings.

  • Mund

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:03 AM

    Comment #7


    I have high hopes for Lobby still as I think he is a player but he needs the right coaching to bring it out in him

  • Mund

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:04 AM

    Comment #8

    I hope Jail has a moan at every poster who said yesterday was a nice day on the blog….

    But tbh I think he saves it all for me 😉 😆

  • Optimistic prime

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:08 AM

    Comment #9


    You keep shouting let the blog speak for itself.

    Several not involved in the arguments pointed the finger squarely at you.

    Why ask the blog to speak when you won’t listen?

    You started yesterday with your usual bile until 22 shamed you into silence.

    I posted for 2 days, you were the one arguing all week, yesterday was your usual butter wouldn’t melt routine after another meltdown.

    YOU’RE personally responsible for a number of posters leaving!

    Along with the other bullies.

    A decent guy wouldn’t need to tell everyone how decent he was!

  • Mund

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:09 AM

    Comment #10

    Ok OP you keep telling yourself that. I hope you feel better from yesterday 🙂

  • magscar

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:12 AM

    Comment #11

    REPOST sorry Jail


    You’ve (temporarily) lost a couple of Blog mates it happens but others don’t feel it as sharply nor the nausea as you do so quite reasonably expressed their happiness

    I believe by far the majority of posters yesterday found posting enjoyable so yes long may that continue

    Yesterday early morning whilst out walking i was seriously thinking of suggesting to the Harrisons (for their sake and ours) that maybe a Blog reset was needed and to coincide with Social Media ban by some sporting bodies perhaps suspebf Blog over the weekend

    I was unsure of the practical and financial impact of doing so though

    Ed doesn’t contribute much now and it can’t be easy for his family to continue to honour his creation whilst holding down jobs themselves

    We all enjoy this forum they provide and if we can’t respect each other then we can at the very least respect them

    After the bust ups the day and night before and The Wife’s involvment I thought something draconian would need to happen but then thought maybe a temporary halt would allow all parties to consider their own contributions before it reopened

    It might have also allowed a clean slate for all but with a stating of fresh rules as to revisting old feuds

    As it happened i was delighted to see there had been a new dawn and as day and night wore on thought it was unnecessary

    I drift on and off Blog to little sorrow or acclaim but we all have something to offer and we should welcome ALL genuine contributors

    Tsunki mentioned Blog hadn’t improved since he left and maybe it could be argued it hasn’t since Jib was apparently banned so what does that tell us?

    We ALL need to consider what and how we post and address each other

    #Abuse it and lose it

  • Ron Knee

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:14 AM

    Comment #12

    Soton play tonight. Should be interesting for us bottom feeders.

  • Mund

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:15 AM

    Comment #13


    Spot on mate here here

  • magscar

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:16 AM

    Comment #14

    Mund and OP

    Please for the Blog’s sake try not to make it personal and heated again and ignore each other if possible

  • John Tudor

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:16 AM

    Comment #15

    Have we been sold yet

  • Mund

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:17 AM

    Comment #16


    Thats my reply and will be my only reply to him.

  • magscar

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:21 AM

    Comment #17


    I’m not taking sides I honestly feel Blog is in jeopardy – call it over reaction if you want but if we care about this forum then we have to do better

  • Wor B

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:23 AM

    Comment #18

    I’m still undecided about Seany.

    There are obvious areas to improve, he can be vulnerable and indecisive on the ball at times, gets dispossessed when receiving the ball due to either lack of awareness or indecision. Opposing teams paid him lots of attention after his purple patch in tandem with Hayden and now chase and harry him into mistakes. As a consequence he’s not producing as much attacking play or creativity.

    He’s relatively young and there’s plenty potential to work with. He needs good coaching and game time to develop at this level. I hope he makes it.

  • Optimistic prime

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:24 AM

    Comment #19


    Should I put a post up asking if the blog think you start all the arguments ?

    Would that make me a good guy like online?

    What about going on Twitter posting malicious lies against Simon Jordan.

    Would that make me a good guy like you who doesn’t preach hate?

    No one who puts the things you do online has anything to do with mental health, it’s a excuse to hide your shit attitude and poor behaviour!

  • Mund

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:25 AM

    Comment #20

    Ok Op have a nice day mate 🙂

  • Adamn_92

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:27 AM

    Comment #21

    Sean has all the attributes to be a great midfielder but weirdly I think his confidence/calmness can be his greatest downfall sometimes. It’s great for when he’s being closed down face on or in a tight spot, as he can remain calm and pick an easy pass. But other times, when receiving the ball he can be too relaxed and get it nicked off his foot or turn into trouble, as well as under-hitting passes occasionally. I feel like his short comings are all things that could be coached out of him by a good manager and coaching team. Just needs a bit more urgency and awareness of whats around him sometimes.

  • carltoon

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:30 AM

    Comment #22

    I hope Sean comes good, how great that would be. I think a run in the team has done him good. And long may it continue

  • geordie157

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:30 AM

    Comment #23

    Sean Longstaff gets a lot of stick, some warranted, some is a bit OTT and makes me wonder if people have watched the whole game.

    He’s been decent since he got back into the side, however he faded badly vs Burnley second half and should have been hooked not long after half time, and whilst he’s been making good runs and offering us a bit of box to box player he needs to cut out the overplaying or lazy blind passes in front of our defence.

    He’s not quite got back to the form that interested Man Utd but like many have said with the right coaching and just as importantly if he can stay injury free he’ll push on again.

    My bigger worry is we have held up Matty’s progression, felt like Jan was the time we could have loaned him to get games and instead of adding Atsu to the squad, done the crazy thing of adding Saivet to add midfield cover.

    Hendrick being Bruce’s fav hasn’t helped either, Matty should definitely have his space on the bench. Sure he’ll make mistakes but it’s how he learns from them and only getting some game time can do that.

  • Optimistic prime

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:31 AM

    Comment #24


    All the innuendos about people’s emotional state.

    Tell us again how you care about mental health.

  • Solano slice

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:32 AM

    Comment #25

    Morning bloggers

    Hope we are all doing well today, cracking day down here.
    Looking forward to playing the arse on Sunday. As somebody pointed out earlier last night was a good result for us as they will want to keep their best players for europa and with us being dare I say on a bit of a good run, hopeful we can snatch 3 points.
    Wilson to start over Jo and grab a brace 2-1 toon

  • Wor B

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:33 AM

    Comment #26


    I think we just said the same thing using different words!


  • Adamn_92

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:33 AM

    Comment #27

    Geordie157, it was an insane decision not let Matty go out on loan. Has he even come off of the bench since January? If he has it must have been less than a handful of times. Imagine all the experience he would be getting if he was loaned to a championship club instead. Awful decision.

  • carltoon

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:33 AM

    Comment #28

    Geordie, how good was he when he first came on the scene, all the hype and his injury, has put him back. But hoping he gets back to what he was.

  • Solano slice

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:34 AM

    Comment #29

    Morning carltoon
    Did you get your results of your head scans?
    Hope everything is where it’s supposed to be and you are well?

  • Adamn_92

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:34 AM

    Comment #30

    haha my apologies Wor B, I started typing that and kept having to leave the computer before I could post it. Must have started before I saw your post up. Great minds and all that though 🙂

  • geordie157

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:35 AM

    Comment #31

    No Willock to score the winner this weekend, so I’ll pop Anderson on the bench for a 10 min cameo to do that job for us 🙂




    Not sure if Fraser is fit, if so, he can have Carroll’s spot. Ditch Hendrick
    If Schar not quite ready, Kraft instead.

    Schar to replace Clark when fully fit.

  • coming home

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:37 AM

    Comment #32

    It’s pretty obvious what’s happened to Sean L

    He burst on the scene under Rafa and was talked about in the same breath as declen Rice then Rafa left and his form fell off a cliff

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence when Jonesy come in he has picked up a bit

    He got Bruced

  • DrGloom

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:38 AM

    Comment #33

    Longstaffs played okay last few games and made some decent runs , think he’ll only improve if he gets regular playing time, a few games here and there have hampered his progress
    Would like to see him do well and sadly given its unlikely we’ll purchase Willock, we therefore need to play Sean and hopefully give Anderson a few games after we beat Arsenal

  • Mund

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:38 AM

    Comment #34

    SB on Callum Wilson:

    “I think he’s ready [to start]. We’ve waited patiently which was important. The more confident you get with a hamstring that you can get to full pace is important & the way he burst through against Liverpool was typical Callum. I think he’s ready.”

  • Mund

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:39 AM

    Comment #35

    ? Steve Bruce previews #NEWARS:

    “We’ve got a slight doubt about Matt Ritchie. He’s got a bit of a calf injury but we think he’s going to be OK [for Sunday]. Apart from that – everybody else has come through Liverpool alright.”

  • Reilly

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:39 AM

    Comment #36

    Keith Downie
    Steve Bruce on Allan Saint-Maximin’s #NUFC future: “I have no doubt he’ll attract interest (from other clubs) – you only need to watch him once to know he’s a gifted footballer & he’ll get you off your seat.We stood & applauded him for a goal he scored in training the other day.”

  • Mund

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:42 AM

    Comment #37

    SB on Fabian Schär:

    “It was always part of his rehabilitation [to play for the U23s]. Fab wants to be involved straight away and he might make the squad but we have to be careful because he’s been out for nearly 11 weeks. He’s trained well and he’s there or thereabouts.”

  • carltoon

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:42 AM

    Comment #38

    Solano, won’t get my results for a few days, but I think it was just double checking, my other one, thank you for asking,

  • Mund

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:43 AM

    Comment #39

    Miles Starforth
    Asked if Newcastle were safe, Steve Bruce said: ‘We can’t take anything for granted, but, certainly, we’re in a better position than we were a month ago. We’ve found a bit of resilience.’ #nufc

  • Reilly

    Apr 30, 2021 at 10:44 AM

    Comment #40

    Bruce: “Darlow and Fraser have both had operations but they’re recovering. The way sports science is, in another couple of weeks, they’ll hopefully be OK.”


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