Some impressive stats have emerged from Sunday’s game against Manchester United which show exactly what both Sean and Matty Longstaff can bring to this Newcastle team – energy and legs in midfield.
The stats show how BOTH Matty (11.36km) and older brother Sean (11.02km) covered more distance than any other players last weekend, with Manchester United’s Andreas Pereira coming 3rd with 10.49km.
The stats show that it is not just impressive quality on the ball that the Geordie duo possesses – but the work rate to match as well.
I have stated in a previous article that the Longstaff’s playing styles complement each other perfectly. Sean is better suited to a more composed and deeper role where he reads the play, keeps things ticking and screens the defence (think Michael Carrick), whereas Matty seems a slightly more aggressive and busy midfielder with an eye on getting forward when he can.
He’s got bundles of ability and can be the difference on his day, but the likes of Jonjo Shelvey has been known for his lax attitude and lack of mobility on the pitch – something neither Longstaff brother looks likely to be guilty of. Inconsistency has been the Achilles heel of Shelvey’s career, but he and Ki must now up their game in terms of effort levels and intensity if they wish to remain in Bruce’s first-team thoughts.
With the Longstaff brothers, you can always guarantee that 100% effort will always be put into every performance, and that is all the supporters expect from a Newcastle United player.
My only issue is that we can’t now pin our season’s hopes on the shoulders of two young local lads, who at 19 and 21, have both been presented the opportunity in the first team because of the lack of midfield options. Lack of investment in the team has been to the benefit of both brothers, and they have taken their opportunities well, but we must continue to perform as a team and invest around them to benefit their progress at St James’ Park.
Despite this worry, both players MUST start against Chelsea after the international break – anything else would be criminal from Bruce.
It is hard to say whether Matty Longstaff should be a first-team regular at the age of 19 due to one performance, but if his brother’s comments about being the best player in training are anything to go by, Newcastle could have quite the partnership in midfield for many years to come.