Given the struggles this season, criticising one player is somewhat unfair.
The Vital View
Particularly when that player is Sean Longstaff.
When he made a mistake against Southampton, I defended him. Indeed, the lack of attacking plan under Steve Bruce isn’t exactly conducive to making quick-fire decisions when finally in possession of the ball, potentially leading to the dithering on the ball from both him and Miguel Almiron.
There have also been reports from The Independent suggesting some of Bruce’s rather old-fashioned management has held a developing player such as Longstaff back, hinting at another reason as to why he’s stalled.
Indeed, it’s not as if he’s endured an awful season either. Promising performances against Everton and West Bromwich Albion should be taken into account and there have been signs of the 23-year-old doing the simple things well again.
However, there is a point at which he needs to take ownership of his personal performance.
Against Leeds, he was caught in possession once again, leading to their crucial third goal, after his teammates had fought back to 2-2.
Longstaff may not be given the help needed to progress in a broader sense but his dithering in this instance was maddening. It certainly doesn’t take a footballing genius to know Leeds are famous for their high-pressing style and, at 23, Longstaff should know better.
How often is he going to keep repeating the same mistakes? It’s certainly not the easiest situation for him but, frankly, he needs to show some kind of learning on the job. Four unsuccessful touches (via WhoScored) was the second-highest on the pitch last night and, sadly for the midfielder, his team seem to lack the dynamism to rectify such mistakes on a regular basis.
Would you blame Longstaff for wanting to leave?
It’s certainly possible to believe Longstaff should be doing better by now and sympathise with the reported lack of coaching, while hoping he stays at Newcastle United for a very long time.
This poor run won’t define his career but it could have an impact on Newcastle’s season.
Some of the January transfer reports involving Newcastle United’s and their planning are promising. Here’s why…