By Alex Chandy (@NUFC_Online)
Squad depth has always been a problem Rafa and with transfer funds not coming easy, the gaffer has turned his attention into the youth of our squad and more specifically, ‘the next Frank Lampard’, Sean Longstaff.
Born and raised a Geordie, 20-year old Sean has worked his way through the ranks after being spotted playing for North Shields Athletics. The nephew of ex-mag Alan Thompson, Longstaff has gained a reputation for being a hardworking, agile, box to box midfielder.
The potential of the midfielder was a highlight in Tuesday friendly against St Patrick’s athletic. A full 90 mins on the pitch backed by a well-taken goal certainly got Rafa thinking about his future plans. This reputation was certainly backed by his successful loan spells over the last two seasons.
Longstaff completed a 6-month loan spell in 2017 at Scottish premier league outers Kilmarnock. The spell ended with Sean grabbing 3 goals in 16 Apps.
In the 2017-2018 season, Sean was sent to league one side Blackpool to gain more experience of English football. The hugely successful stint certainly caught Rafa’s eye as the youngster played an impressive 42 games, bagging 9 goals and 6 assists.
— Total:NUFC (@Total_NUFC) July 16, 2018
However, what impressed spectators so much was Longstaff’s ability to move the ball, find a pass and work hard without the ball for his team.
A few Frank Lampard-esque 25 yard strikes certainly didn’t go unseen either and Sean recently spoke about where his game style comes from.
“I’m a centre midfielder and try to get around the pitch as much as possible. I love to get forward, trying to score & create goals.
“Frank Lampard is someone I model my game on; I watch clips of him & try to do the same thing. Last year, at Blackpool, it worked.”
It’s early days, but I can see glimpses of Lampard in him. His upright running style, his ability to get into good attacking positions and his impressive technique all suggest to me that he’s a player he really has modelled his game on – and that can only bode well for us NUFC fans!
It was reported early this week that Sean would be sent to Portsmouth for the upcoming season to gain further experience but with Merino gone and Hayden heading out the door, Rafa has a decision to make.
Sean Longstaff, Josef Yarney and Victor Fernandez all made a great impact on Tuesday’s friendly and all Toon fans would love to see the lads do well this year in the first team.
— Newcastle Fans TV (@NewcastleFansTV) July 18, 2018