Speaking before yesterday’s FA Cup tie with Watford, Sky pundit Phil Thompson heaped praise on Sean Longstaff – with him impressed by his ability to win the ball back, play forward passes and provide a ‘presence’ in midfield.
Yesterday’s performance at St James’ Park was diabolical, but Longstaff was the best of an awful bunch – with him being one of few to get stuck in and always trying to go forward when he got on the ball.
It’s been a tough month for the club, but the emergence of a talent local lad like Longstaff has been a breath of fresh air – and absolutely vital given how many injuries we’ve picked up in midfield.
Here’s what Thompson had to say about the 21-year-old when assessing what he made of him during our 3-0 win over Cardiff last weekend.
“He was absolutely terrific. The best midfielder on show on both sides.
“He was winning the ball in midfield, he was looking forward, he was spraying his passes around, looking to go over the top, but what it was, he’s got a good presence in there. He’s got a good physique to compete in that centre midfield. I couldn’t have been more pleased for the lad.
“We talk about Harry Winks, but this lad offered more than him”
“There’s nothing better than having a local lad who can produce. From what I saw on the day, he was the best.”
He bagged 9 goals and 9 assists during his loan spell with Blackpool last season and showed that eye for goal over pre-season, however his recent displays has shown he’s capable of doing the dirty work well too.
It’s interesting that Thompson mentions his stature too. He’s slight, but he’s naturally quite broad and must be over 6ft tall, with him appearing to have filled out a little over the summer.
He needs to keep his head down and continue developing, but he really does look the part from what we’ve seen so far.
It’s great to see him taking his chance and great to hear a pundit giving him some well deserved praise – especially in an era where we’ve seen so few local lads come through from our Academy.