Sean Longstaff has admitted he’s ‘flattered’ by Man Utd’s interest, but insists he’s a Newcastle United player who’s fully focused on impressing Steve Bruce – despite being ‘sad’ at Benitez’s exit.
The Man Utd rumours have lingered all summer and, although some reports have suggested he’d be keen to hold talks with those at Old Trafford, he doesn’t sound like a man who’ll be forcing a move away.
Here’s what he’s had to say when asked about the Manchester United rumours, with him insisting that he’s keeping his head down and only focused on impressing Steve Bruce:
“I just keep my head down.
“I am just trying to get fit – that’s all I can focus on. I am still a Newcastle United player.
“I want to get back on the pitch as soon as I can. That is what I am looking forward to doing.
“I make more and more progress everyday, that’s all I look forward to. I can’t wait to get on the pitch and impress the new boss.”
“If somebody had said to be me a year ago I would be in this position, I would probably have laughed at them.
“This time last year I was deciding whether to go to League One (Portsmouth) on loan. A year on, you are seeing your name linked with one of the biggest clubs in the world.
“For me, it is all a positive really. It gives you even more confidence. When I was in for a short amount of time people took notice of me. It is flattering but my job is at Newcastle.
“The new boss is coming in and it’s a clean slate for everybody – including me.
“I just get my head down and work on the pitch. Like anybody knows you are no use to anybody if you aren’t fit.”
Hopefully he appreciates the fact he’s only played 9 Premier League games and will need to become a regular at Newcastle United and one of our star players before he makes any huge and potentially premature move away.
From what he’s said, I think he realises this – although he may still be tempted given A) the club have now shown ambition and B) he may regret turning down Man Utd IF his career fails to take off from this point onwards.
Longstaff then spoke out about Rafa Benitez’s exit, admitting ‘nobody’ wanted to see him leave the club this summer:
“Nobody wanted to see Rafa Benitez go.
“But that’s what football is – it changes, all of the time.
“I would say everybody was sad to see Rafa go but the squad is excited now as a new manager is coming in.
“Rafa leaving is in the past. It has to be positive now from within and we must all look forward.
“This is a new challenge and it is up to us as players. New staff members are coming in so it is about everybody pulling in the right direction.
“We have to look forward to the new season with a freshness and an open mind. We need to be ready to go.”
To say the squad are ‘excited’ now Bruce has come in following Benitez’s exit is pretty tough to expect from a fan perspective, but it seems the players are doing their best to move on.
Finally, here’s what the 21-year-old said about Steve Bruce’s appointment and his current fitness levels after suffering a serious knee injury earlier in the year:
“All of the players have a clean slate.
“It rejuvenates everybody knowing that they have to impress the new boss. The standard will go up a notch.
“It is something that everybody has to look forward to and relish. That’s the older lads and the younger ones. It is better that way. We are all looking forward to it.
“There’s no excuses now so to speak so everybody has to get their head down and get focused on what will happen in the future.”
“I’m just trying to get back to fitness as soon as possible.
“I have stepped things up a little bit in training.
“I am doing more and more in the sessions so now it is about pushing on and trying to get fully fit.
“It has been tough because it has been brand new – I am not really used to being injured. I’ve never been injured before.
“So it has all been a new learning experience. It is something that will help me in the future.
“It has been a long hard road but I hope to be back on the pitch as soon as possible.”
Given it’s been a turbulent summer so far filled with shambolic mistakes and a total lack of communication, let’s hope Longstaff stays this summer.
I get the feeling he’s more than happy to, but you always worry when we’re one big Man Utd bid away from a Andy Carroll style situation.
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About Olly Hawkins
Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.