Former Newcastle United prospect Lewis McNall has hailed Sean Longstaff’s success in the Toon first-team to his rare goalscoring exploits while out on loan.
Longstaff and McNall began their footballing careers together in the Magpies academy, but the depth of talent in the Under 23s meant some of the club’s emerging prospects had to leave Tyneside in search of regular football.
Unfortunately for McNall, the striker’s move to Gateshead in January 2018 only returned seven appearances and he was released by Newcastle that summer, but Longstaff took his chance with Kilmarnock and then Blackpool.
Longstaff added goals to his game when with the Seasiders, as well, as the 5 ft 11 midfielder hit nine in 45 games, while keeping his name on the scoresheet with a further six assists.
This rare feat of finding the net from central midfield is something that McNall feels was key in the development of his former teammate, who he feels was always destined to achieve something special through his obsession with football.
Does Longstaff need to add more goals to his game?
Yes, he needs to offer more in attack
No, he should focus on defending
“You look at a lot of players that go out on loan from the academy and it just doesn’t happen,” McNall told the Chronicle. “They don’t play, or they get recalled after a couple of months. That didn’t happen with Sean.
“He went to Blackpool and Kilmarnock and he played every game – plus he scored ten or fifteen goals from midfield. You don’t see that very often.
“I always knew he would do well because he has the attitude that he is obsessed with football. He is obsessed with getting better and you could see that from a young age.
“We used to train together, and he would scream at players around him because he set such high standards for himself and he wanted other players to reach those standards too.”
McNall suffered a serious knee injury during his time on loan with Gateshead and is yet to find a new club following his release by Newcastle, after suffering a second anterior cruciate ligament rupture within an hour of beginning a trial with Stoke City that summer.