Newcastle vs Southampton is BT Sport’s televised clash today, with the two bottom half clubs meeting at St James Park as they aim to climb the table. The two clubs have some very impressive players kicking about, and here we’ll be comparing two English midfielders in Sean Longstaff and James Ward-Prowse as they both have huge futures.
Before we get into it, Sean Longstaff is injured and has been for the last few weeks. He will miss this clash and the rest of the season, but should he make it back to fitness for next season and get back to form it will be a matter of time before he’s giving Gareth Southgate selection headaches. One of the players he’ll be battling against for an England spot will be Saints’ James Ward-Prowse, though, who will certainly feature later today.
Sean Longstaff has shown everyone what he can do in his very short time as a Newcastle United senior player. Before he suffered his injury, there were fans calling for him to be an England player, and who can blame them? The 21-year-old former Blackpool loanee is an incredible youngster with plenty of fight, passion and energy in the middle of the park, with some stellar displays to go with his potential.
If you want to see the best of the young Geordie, just look back to Newcastle’s home clash with Manchester City. Between them, Isaac Hayden and Longstaff shone as they outclassed a Pep Guardiola midfield of David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Fernandinho. That says all you need to know, and all the Newcastle fans want is to see Longstaff return as soon as possible and get back to form next season as he continues to convince England fans he deserves to be in Southgate’s squad.
TT GRADE: A
At the age of 24-years-old, James Ward-Prowse is one of the oldest players to still be considered as a young prospect, and he has been considered so for a long time. However, the Southampton man has got bags of talent that he’s started to utilise under the tutelage of Ralph Hasenhuttl and if he keeps going the way he is then maybe a big money move and a chance with the Three Lions could present itself.
This season has seen the midfield man score six Premier League goals for the Saints, his highest tally since becoming a regular starter back in the 2013/14 season. The only problem is that the midfielder hasn’t got an assist this season and his creative output can be questioned. That could be a key point in whether or not Ward-Prowse gets an international nod, and it will be something that Hasenhuttl will be working on with the impressive midfield maestro.
TT GRADE: C
Whilst it could be the case that with so many impressive midfielders coming through with England that neither Ward-Prowse or Longstaff get a look in for the national side, you’d back at least one of them to do so.
Gareth Southgate will have his eye on both, but with age on his side and some bright performances under his belt already, when Longstaff gets back to fitness he will surely be the more likely of the two.
Newcastle and Southampton, who do you think wins this battle? Comment below.