Eddie Howe names Newcastle United player with 'highest physical stats' in training

Sir John Hall once dreamed of a team of eleven Geordies representing Newcastle United.

The dream of former chairman Sir John Hall won’t ever be realised given the global market for talent.

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But the importance of a local core of players – and a pathway to the first team from the Academy – can’t be overstated, according to head coach Eddie Howe.

Howe named two Geordies – Sean Longstaff and Dan Burn – in his last starting XI, and another – 20-year-old midfielder Elliot Anderson – was on the bench.

Longstaff and Burn were superb in Newcastle’s 1-0 win over Chelsea at St James’s Park.

Asked about the importance of local players to the club, Howe said: “Hugely important. I don’t underestimate it.

“We want players to come through the Academy into the first team. That’s a genuine wish from me, so to see Sean in the team, with his history with the club, doing well currently, is a great source of satisfaction.

Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe.

“The work that’s gone into Sean as a player through the various age groups here, it’s something we do value, place a value on.”

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Howe also has Newcastle-born Paul Dummett and Mark Gillespie at the club. He said: “Paul Dummett, Mark Gillespie and Dan Burn are from the local area, it’s great to see.”

Longstaff came up through the ranks at the club’s Academy, and was promoted to the first-team squad by Rafa Benitez in the 2018/19 season. The midfielder had a difficult time during Steve Bruce’s time as manager, but he has since gone on to prosper under Howe.

The 25-year-old – who signed a new deal at the club earlier this year – has started the last nine league and cup games, and Howe has praised him for his “drive and endurance”.

Newcastle United midfielder Sean Longstaff celebrates his goal against Fulham last month with team-mates Dan Burn, Sven Botman and Fabian Schar.
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“Sean, first and foremost, has been excellent since he’s come into the team, and he does give us a drive, an endurance, that when he’s not there, we’d miss,” said Howe.

“He’s got a very good attitude to his work. That’s the same Sean you see from matchday to training, regularly churning out the highest physical stats in training every day. That’s just part of his DNA, how he works, how he plays.

"That energy that you have in the team, you’ve got him, you’ve got Miggy (Miguel Almiron), Joelinton, several other players that have the same quality, you become a much harder team to play against.”

Meanwhile, Burn, signed from Brighton and Hove Albion in January, was released by United as a youngster. The defender was tipped for an England call ahead of the World Cup, but the 30-year-old missed out on a place in Gareth Southgate’s squad.

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Newcastle United midfielder Elliot Anderson.

"He can play in various positions,” said Howe. “He's an incredible person, and he's been a model of consistency for me – and he's got great leadership skills.

"I couldn't place a higher value on him and what he's delivered for me, and, I think, he can do that on the international stage, but obviously that's Gareth's call.

"Dan's one of those players who can sometimes go under the radar and not be acknowledged, but he has been so good in certain positions for us.”