Fearless Newcastle United man 'lucky' to play alongside £100m trio after Steve Bruce frustration
It has been a month since Newcastle beat Chelsea 1-0 at St James’s Park in what was their previous competitive match. During the World Cup break, the United players had time off before travelling to Saudi Arabia for a warm weather training camp and friendly game against Al Hilal.
After being the Saudi Pro League champions 5-0, the Newcastle squad returned to Tyneside over the weekend. They now prepare for a friendly match against La Liga outfit Rayo Vallecano at St James’s Park this Saturday (12:30pm kick-off) before they return to competitive action in the Carabao Cup against Bournemouth next Tuesday (7:45pm kick-off).
After being in and out of the side last season under Eddie Howe, Longstaff has stepped things up this campaign and is one of only three players to have featured in all 17 competitive matches for the club so far this season alongside Joe Willock and Kieran Trippier.
Longstaff playing his ‘best football’ at Newcastle
Longstaff impressed when he first broke onto the scene at Newcastle during the 2018-19 season under Rafael Benitez but struggled to maintain the same level of performance and often cut a frustrated figure under Steve Bruce. But with Newcastle flying high sitting third in the Premier League table, the 25-year-old believes he is now playing better than ever before in a Newcastle shirt.
“I’d say I’m playing my best football at the moment,” Longstaff told The Gazette. “The way we’re playing is really exciting, front foot and I like the position I’m in where I’m able to drift between roles.
"Whether it’s going to play next to Bruno [Guimaraes] or going a bit higher and trying to connect things with Tripps and Miggy [Almiron], I’m just really enjoying it, trying to have a smile on my face every day and enjoy playing.”
‘No fear’ playing for Newcastle
Longstaff added: “When I first came through I didn’t fear anyone. Then you come up against someone a few times and you think ‘they’re good, them’!
"As a team, we never feared anyone but I think the difference is now we’ve got a lot of confidence and self-belief and when everyone is pulling together in the whole city and especially at home we know we can do special things and we’ve been able to do that.”
‘Lucky’ to play alongside £100m midfield stars at Newcastle
Since graduating from the academy and establishing his place in the first-team, Longstaff now lines-up alongside over £100million worth of talent in Joelinton, Bruno Guimaraes and Joe Willock in Newcastle’s midfield.
“I’m lucky to play next to them,” the Geordie playmaker continued. “I could speak all night about how good I think Bruno is so I’m happy for him with everything that’s happened with the birth of his little boy and stuff, it’s been a great time for him here.
"The players, Willy, Jonjo [Shelvey], Joelinton, we’ve got a really good group like I say and the fact that we train with each other every day, it’s really tough. The manager wants us at each other every day to make each other better and that’s what we’ve done so far and we want to keep it going.”