Rafa Benitez blocks loan move for in-demand Newcastle United midfielder

Rafa Benitez says Newcastle United's homegrown players have an "advantage".
Sean Longstaff.Sean Longstaff.
Sean Longstaff.

Sean Longstaff and Callum Roberts, both 21, netted in the club's 4-2 FA Cup win over Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park on Tuesday night.

Midfielder Longstaff has started the club's last three games and could keep his place for tomorrow's home game against Cardiff City.

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Roberts, meanwhile, was called up for the cup tie after Benitez lost winger Kenedy to an injury.

Asked about their performances against Blackburn, manager Benitez said: “You see the prices in the market now, (and) Academy players have an advantage.

"They have the feeling of the fans and the people in the city, because they have been in the club for a while. That's something really important, because they care.

"And after, they're normally cheaper. If they do so well, that they can be stars. That's when you have problems with their agents. But, at the moment, they're fine. They want to play and want to play for their team."

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Longstaff signed a new long-term contract at the club earlier this season after impressing Benitez.

And Benitez blocked a loan move for the player, who spent last season at League One club Blackpool.

“He has potential," said Benitez. "He went on loan and came back and did well.

"We have had lots of teams asking about him this transfer window, but I told them wait a little bit, because we are so pleased with him and he has a chance.

"He's a good player, a good professional and is keen to learn. He will be better, because he's working really hard and he listens to you."