Rafa Benitez reacts to Sean Longstaff's debut goal and performance for Newcastle
Rafa Benitez hailed a quartet of young Newcastle United players for their performances against St Patrick's Athletic.
Benitez handed starts to Sean Longstaff, Josef Yarney, Victor Fernandez and Callum Roberts against the Dublin side at Richmond Park last night.
Longstaff, making his debut, scored in a 2-0 win for Newcastle.
"It's always important to have young players involved," said United manager Benitez. "It's an opportunity.
"I have to be fair, because Callum and Victor were playing as full-backs and they are wingers, but we needed to be sure that we had enough legs in each position. They did well.
"You will ask me about Longstaff as he scored a goal, and Yarney did well in defence also.
"It was positive for them and us, because we gave them an opportunity, and they did well."
On midfielder Longstaff, Benitez added: "The main thing with young players is that they have to be focused and humble and keep working, and he did that."
Longstaff – who spent last season on loan at Blackpool – played the first half alongside Mohamed Diame.
After the break, the 20-year-old was partnered by Jonjo Shelve.
Asked about the step up to first-team football, Longstaff said: "It's a bit different, but, to be honest with you, when you're playing with the likes of Mo and Jonjo in midfield, they make the game pretty easy for you.
"They help you through the game and talk to you all the time."