Manchester United fans have got it VERY wrong about Sean Longstaff

Sean Longstaff.
Sean Longstaff.

Manchester United fans this week woke up to more reports linking their club with Sean Longstaff.

It's fair to say many of them, used to superstar signings, were seemingly underwhelmed judging by their reactions on social media.

But Newcastle United fans know better.

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Longstaff only made nine Premier League appearances this season, but the midfielder made quite an impression in those 687 minutes on the field.

And it's not a surprise on Tyneside that Ole Gunnar Solksjaer is interested in the 21-year-old, who signed a new deal at St James's Park last year.

That said, Longstaff was unknown to many United fans a year ago. The midfielder had just returned from a successful loan at League One club Blackpool, where he had caught the eye with his goals.

And it was a goal 41 minutes into Newcastle's pre-season which set Longstaff on his way.

Rafa Benitez, United's manager, had seen something in Longstaff, a technically-gifted player with vision, a good range of passing and an eye for goal, and called him up to his senior squad.

Longstaff had reported back for the start of pre-season training not knowing if he was set for another loan – or a season with the club's Under-23s.

Rafa Benitez.

Rafa Benitez.

However, he was soon packing his bags for the club's training camp in Ireland.

“I was playing golf with my brother, my granddad and my uncle," said Longstaff. "My agent just said ‘pack your bags’. I thought I was going on loan somewhere, but he said ‘you’re going to Ireland’."

Then came a dreaded initiation song in front of his team-mates – Longstaff chose Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself” – and his debut followed a few days later.

Longstaff started against St Patrick's Athletic at Richmond Park – and scored in the 41st minute. A Matt Ritchie cross from the right was diverted to Longstaff, who drilled a low, left-footed shot in off the post.

Speaking on the pitch after the game as fans of both clubs milled around looking for autographs, Longstaff said: "It's something you dream of as a young kid.

"You dream of playing for Newcastle. I'm in a pretty lucky position."

And that's the thing. Longstaff's feet were firmly planted on the ground then – and they remain there now thanks to his upbringing.

The Newcastle-born player – whose younger brother Matty also plays for the club – knows how fortunate he is to have this chance. He just wants to play and to progress – and Newcastle fans want him to do this at St James's Park.

Longstaff quickly adjusted to Premier League football – and there's a lot more to come from him.

Well before Man United's interest became known, Longstaff was being compared to fellow Tynesider Michael Carrick, one that got away and ended up winning title after title at Old Trafford before moving on to the coaching staff.

Longstaff is a player that Newcastle simply can't afford to lose – however much Man United are prepared to pay.