Rafa Benitez unequivocal about Sean Longstaff's prospects at Newcastle United

Rafa Benitez hailed Sean Longstaff after he was nominated for a top award alongside Paul Pogba, Virgil van Dijk and Sergio Aguero.

Friday, 1st March 2019, 2:18 pm
Updated Friday, 1st March 2019, 2:22 pm
Sean Longstaff.

The Newcastle United midfielder – who scored in Tuesday night’s 2-0 win over Burnley at St James’s Park – has been outstanding in recent weeks.

And the 21-year-old’s form has been recognised by the Premier League.

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Longstaff – who has started Newcastle’s last 10 league and cup games – is on the shortlist for the Player of the Month Award for February.

Asked if he was good that Longstaff was getting recognition outside Tyneside, United manager Benitez said: “Yes, especially because we’re talking about a young player coming from the (youth) system – he’s not a player who’s been in the Premier League.

“He’s played against Liverpool, against Chelsea, against all these teams and he’s done well – you also have to give a lot of credit to the lad, not just because he’s playing well, the way that he’s handling the situation, the way that he’s so focused and humble and has continued working.

“It’s good news for us that he’s doing so well. Hopefully, he can get Player of the Month.

“To be fair, I didn’t know who was nominated, and I think he has to win, because when you compare the other players with him, it’s a big, big credit to him to be there.

“At the same time, his family is giving him the right advice – that’s really important – and the lad, when you see him around the training ground, is quite humble.”

Longstaff’s father David captained Great Britain’s ice hockey team.

“The family has experience in sport, so that’s important to give him the right advice,” said Benitez.

“At the same time – as I’ve said so many times – he’s someone who is listening and he’s trying to do what you are telling, and he will have more chances to do well.

“If he can follow the advice at home and follow the advice here, I think he will be fine.”