Sean Longstaff has called the interest shown in him during the recent transfer window ‘outside noise you can’t really control’ as he laid out his plans for the future, as told to Newcastle United’s official website.
Longstaff was heavily linked with a lucrative move to Manchester United in the summer transfer window but saw no deal progress, as the Magpies demanded £50million for the North Shields-born midfielder (Daily Mail).
Manchester United were often linked with a move for Longstaff as Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was keen to bolster his midfield contingent with homegrown talents, to partner wide addition Wales international Dan James and former Crystal Palace right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Longstaff was also suggested to have been keen on listening to what Manchester United had to say in any negotiations (The Times), but was not given the opportunity to as Red Devils Executive Vice-Chairman Ed Woodward was reticent to exceed his valuation of the 21-year-old.
The midfielder has now addressed the speculation with Newcastle’s official website ahead of the Magpies’ trip to Liverpool at the weekend, and stated that his desires are to cement a starting role for himself at St. James’ Park.
“I think I’ve probably grown up a lot since we were last there [at Anfield on Boxing Day 2018],” Longstaff said. “It’s crazy how time is flying away. If you said to me last season I’d be going back this season with all that’s happened, I’d have laughed at you.
“Obviously there was speculation [about my future in the summer] and stuff that was out of my control, the outside noise you can’t really control. In terms of being more established in the team, I’d like to think I am, but obviously there’s more work to be done in terms of where Isaac [Hayden and] Jonjo [Shelvey] are, and how successful they’ve been.
“The next step is to fully established myself. Looking back, it was about looking in on the squad and getting on the bench now and then. Now it’s week on week [in the starting line-up] and to hopefully start as many games as I can. I think I’m in a much stronger position now.”
Newcastle retaining Longstaff’s services amid the alleged interest from Manchester United was probably one of the Magpies’ best pieces of business in the summer considering his importance, as the Toon will be able to form their side around the 21-year-old.
He is already one of the first names on the teamsheet at St. James’ Park when fit, and has been lauded as one of Newcastle’s best young players by manager Steve Bruce (Sky Sports) and one that could represent England in the eyes of former head coach Rafa Benitez (The Athletic).
Longstaff has displayed his potential to be a box-to-box option in the engine room this season, too, after he offered a resolute defensive presence in the win over Tottenham Hotspur, before providing an influential figure in the second half at home to Watford after putting his early-game struggles to rest.
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