Sean Longstaff makes fitness admission that Newcastle United fans will love
Newcastle United midfielder Sean Longstaff says a strong off-season has left him feeling the best he’s felt since his breakthrough season.
Longstaff broke into the Magpies’ starting XI under Rafa Benitez midway through the 2018/19 campaign after coming off the bench to make his debut during a 4-0 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield.
The 23-year-old quickly established himself as a regular in Benitez’s midfield before his debut term was cruelly cut short when he sustained a knee injury away at West Ham.
That was Longstaff’s first serious injury of his career and he initially struggled to hit similar levels to those he showed during his breakthrough.
However, the way Longstaff finished last season provided plenty of positive signs as he played a key part in United’s surge towards Premier League survival.
Longstaff has worked hard through the summer, which he hopes will translate onto the pitch.
He told NUFCTV: “I’ve had a really good off-season and worked really hard.
"I’m probably feeling the best I’ve felt since the first year I came through which is really exciting for me.
“I’ll keep working hard, continue to do the right things, listen to the right people and hopefully, I’ll see the rewards for it.”
Longstaff missed 11 consecutive games between January and March before being recalled for the remaining 10 matches.
He added: "During the first half of the season last year, I thought I did pretty well.
"I then came out the team, didn’t play for a little while and came back in when we were struggling. I thought I played pretty well and finished the season strong.
"We picked up good results when I was playing which is always nice.
"I’ve worked really hard in the summer with James Allan (Sports Scientist) in the gym two or three times a week working on getting stronger and faster.
"I need to thank him because he’s been really good for me.
"I feel really good but I have to transfer that from the gym, the training pitch and into games where it matters the most.
"The early signs are really good. I’m feeling really positive and mentally in a really good place going into this year, so I’m excited to see what happens.”