Newcastle summer signing reveals how they sealed a move - while playing for local rivals
Newcastle United's Rosaire Longelo has revealed how he caught the eye of the Magpies and sealed his summer switch.
The 18-year-old is set to make his St James's Park bow this evening as he forms part of Ben Dawson's under-23 squad preparing to take on Sunderland in Premier League 2 tonight.
And Longelo, who signed after leaving West Ham at the end of last season, has revealed how he caught they eye while playing against Newcastle for one of their local rivals.
"I was basically on trial for Middlesbrough and played against Newcastle," he said, speaking to the club's official website.
"I thought I did well, and then Newcastle hit on my agent and said they wanted me to come for pre-season.
"I came up, played in the friendly against Barrow and impressed, and then Ben (Dawson) said he wanted me in the squad and I signed."
Since moving to Tyneside, Longelo has set about impressing Dawson and his staff.
He was handed an opportunity from the bench in Newcastle's opening Premier League 2 game and helped kick-start the move that saw Callum Roberts level in a 1-1 draw at West Brom.
And while he has slotted in naturally on the field, the off field transition has been smooth too - with Longelo settling in quickly on Tyneside.
"The distance wasn’t an issue at all," he admitted.
"When I first signed for West Ham, it was good and I was enjoying my football, but I hit a spell where I wasn’t really enjoying my football.
"I felt like I needed a change personally so it was the right moment for me to move to a new club.
“The atmosphere here is much better – everyone’s positive and friendlier. I prefer it here.
"And my mum’s fine with it, which is the main thing. She keeps saying that she wants to visit me every two days, but I just tell her to calm down!”
Longelo will now have to acclimatise himself to the grand surroundings of St James's Park ahead of the clash with Sunderland tonight (kick-off 7pm).
Such big venues are new to the teenager, who admits the tension is already building ahead of the Tyne-Wear Derby.
"I can feel the tension already – the boys have told me how big the game is," Longelo added.
"It’s at St. James’, and they say they’re expecting a lot of fans, so I can’t wait.
"I’ve never played at St. James’, or any big first-team ground, so it’ll be a whole new experience for me."