Rafa Benitez reveals what impressed him about Sean Longstaff’s latest performance for Newcastle United

Sean Longstaff won praise from Rafa Benitez after another midfield masterclass at St James’s Park.

Monday, 25th February 2019, 5:00 am
Sean Longstaff.

Longstaff was handed a ninth successive start for Newcastle United against Huddersfield Town on Saturday.

And the 21-year-old, keeping the likes of Jonjo Shelvey, Mohamed Diame and Ki Sung-yueng out of the team, was outstanding alongside Isaac Hayden, who also put in a strong performance in the 2-0 win over Huddersfield, who had Tommy Smith sent off in the first half.

“He did well,” said Benitez, United’s manager.

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“Obviously, against 10 players he has more time on the ball, and he was managing this time with the ball really well.”

Longstaff – who scored his first competitive senior goal for the club in last month’s FA Cup replay against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park – struck the woodwork with a shot taken from outside the area in the second half.

“His shot that hit the bar was a real pity, because it was a great effort,” said Benitez, who promoted Longstaff to his first-team squad last summer.

The Newcastle-born player – who spent last season on loan at Blackpool – signed a new four-year contract at St James’s Park in December.

Meanwhile, United’s Elias Sorensen again didn’t make the bench for loan club Blackpool on Saturday.

The striker has only played 32 minutes of League One football for the club.