Sean Longstaff has struggled mightily for Newcastle United this season.
One of the biggest stories for Newcastle United last season was the emergence of Sean Longstaff. After he debuted on Boxing Day, he took advantage of his opportunities and became one of the most crucial players for Rafa Benitez’s side. Unfortunately, a knee injury ended his season early and the young midfielder has not been able to regain his previous form in this campaign.
Yesterday’s FA Cup performance was just another disappointing display from the elder Longstaff. His passing is often lazy and he’s prone to give the ball away even on a simple back pass. He doesn’t move around the pitch with much conviction and his lack of athleticism leaves much to be desired defensively.
Last season, he was confident on the ball and in his movement, quickly pivoting around opposing midfielders and playing line-breaking passes. His skill and potential led to countless rumors of Manchester United’s interest in the Newcastle United Academy product. The Magpies didn’t seem to really consider moving him because he looked destined to be a mainstay in the central midfield for years to come for his local club.
In fairness, there’s a chance that can still happen. He’s still only 22 years old and less than a full season of matches under his belt. But, his impact is very rarely positive these days. This season, he has 27 accurate long passes in 17 league appearances, three fewer than he had last season in just nine EPL matches. He’s often one of the disappointing performers when he gets a start, unlike his younger brother, Matty, who brings energy, aggression, and two goals vs. Manchester United. Hopefully, he can get some confidence back and string together a run of form. Because with the arrival of Nabil Bentaleb, the emergence of Matty, and the consistency of Jonjo Shelvey and Isaac Hayden, Sean Longstaff does not have a starting position or playing time locked down in the future.