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Sean Longstaff’s remarkable Newcastle rise highlights the error of Rafa Benitez’s ways

Sean Longstaff’s remarkable Newcastle rise highlights the error of Rafa Benitez’s ways - Newcastle United

According to a recent report from The Newcastle Chronicle, Newcastle United’s Sean Longstaff could be set for an international call-up next month. The 21-year-old has impressed greatly in the heart of Rafa Benitez’s midfield in recent weeks to earn many rave reviews from fans and pundits alike, and it appears that things could be set to get even better for the young Englishman.

And that’s because a recent report from The Newcastle Chronicle suggests that Aidy Boothroyd is keeping a close eye on Longstaff’s progression at St James’ Park ahead of a possible England Under-21 call-up next month, which would be just deserts for his remarkable rise in the last few weeks.

And while the 21-year-old deserves credit for the way he has slotted seamlessly into the Newcastle midfield recently, there has to be some questions asked of Benitez as to why he didn’t feature more often in the first half of the season.

The Breakdown

Ultimately, the young midfielder has come up through the ranks at St James’ Park having been born just up the road in North Shields, with the 21-year-old impressing greatly for the club’s youth sides to thus earn loan spells at Kilmarnock and Blackpool in years gone by.

And in netting nine times in 45 appearances for the latter last time round in their run to 12th place in League One, the Englishman was slowly but surely beginning to showcase his immense talent in the third tier, only to really step it up this term in the Premier League with Newcastle.

And that’s because the youngster has appeared in each of the Magpies’ last five league matches after earning his Premier League debut for the club on Boxing Day, before bagging his first goal for the North East giants in their FA Cup third round replay victory at Blackburn Rovers last month.

However, it has been recent performances against Manchester City and Tottenham, the second and third place sides in the top-flight, which has underlined Longstaff’s ability as he dominated the midfield against the former and again produced the goods against the latter – he wasn’t overawed by either occasion, and went some way to matching and indeed getting the better of some of the best midfielders in the country.

And that must be of huge encouragement to Newcastle fans given their side have somewhat struggled in that area of the pitch this term, with Jonjo Shelvey somewhat unfancied by Benitez, Isaac Hayden eyeing a move away (as per The Newcastle Chronicle), and Ki Sung-yueng and Mo Diame injured – Benitez needed Longstaff to step up, and he’s done just that.

But what may well be on the minds of some Newcastle fans is why it has taken so long for Benitez to give the 21-year-old a chance – hindsight is a wonderful thing, but looking at how brilliantly he has adapted to the top-flight, he surely could have done a job earlier in the season.

Yes, what’s important is that Longstaff has taken his chance to give Benitez another accomplished option in the midfield, but it’s a remarkable rise that could have come a lot sooner were Benitez willing to give him more a go earlier in the campaign – as such, his rise is somewhat highlighting the error of Benitez’s ways.

Newcastle fans… what do you think? Let us know!


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Article title: Sean Longstaff’s remarkable Newcastle rise highlights the error of Rafa Benitez’s ways

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