Everyone in Newcastle knows Sean Longstaff’s name now, but that wasn’t the case a year ago. Indeed, his emergence this season has been so fast that even his most ardent supporters must be shocked – but it could have all been so different.
That’s because, in an interview with the Daily Mail, Longstaff has revealed that one of the Newcastle under-23 coaches told him that he wasn’t a top player in the Magpies’ academy.
As per the Daily Mail, he said: ‘I remember the Under-23s coaches saying, “You’re not one of the top players, we’re only going to give you a scholarship’.
He continued: ‘I was 18, I wanted to be a first-year pro. I had an opinion of myself but theirs was different….But it motivated me. I wanted to look back and say to those coaches, “You’re wrong, I’ll be the one who kicks on and makes it”.’ Only I could change that opinion.’
So, clearly, as a young player, Longstaff’s confidence took a huge hit, and it would have been easy for him to simply give up. After all, if a coach doesn’t think you’re good enough, it would be easy to give up on your dream.
For Newcastle, then, if that happened, they would have lost out on a future St. James’ Park hero.
Fortunately, that didn’t happen. He got his head down, went off to Kilmarnock, and he made a name for himself. And that’s what makes his rapid rise so incredible. He’s gone from being just another name in the Newcastle academy to their most successful graduate in years.
It just makes you wonder what other incredible talent is hidden in the Magpies’ academy. If there’s even one other player like Longstaff, the future is looking very bright. But we can’t ignore their talent, as we initially did with the midfielder.