Longstaff admits summer distractions

Newcastle United
Sean Longstaff

Newcastle United midfielder Sean Longstaff says it was not easy to cope with the transfer speculation surrounding him this summer.

The 21-year-old shone in his breakthrough campaign last year under Rafa Benitez as he scored twice in 11 appearances in all competitions.

His season was unfortunately cut short due to a knee injury but it did not stop clubs from taking an interest in him over the summer period.

Manchester United were the keenest, according to reports with a fee of around £50million mooted for the Newcastle academy product.

However, no bid materialised with United unwilling to fork out that sort of fee and Longstaff has stayed with the club for the start of the new season.

He has so far made four Premier League appearances for Steve Bruce’s side as they currently lie 14th in the league.

Despite seemingly starting the season well enough, putting the transfer saga to one side, Longstaff says the summer months were difficult due to his name not being out of the gossip pages.

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“You can sometimes get distracted by the outside noise and maybe for a little bit in the summer I was a bit,” Longstaff told the Newcastle website. “It’s hard not to.

“Whenever you go anywhere, you see your face on the front of a newspaper and you turn the telly on, people are talking about you. And it’s not like they’re talking about little things, they’re talking about things that can change your life really.

“So for me it’s about not listening to them and sticking to what I do. I speak to Matty Ritchie a lot, he’s someone I lean on in the squad. He tends to keep us grounded and he’s always there with good bits of advice.”

Longstaff’s rise through to the first team came suddenly as Benitez looked for a different option to Jonjo Shelvey and Mo Diame in the squad last season.

His partnership with Isaac Hayden proved to be very effective in the middle of the park and he scored goals against Burnley in the Premier League and Newcastle in the FA Cup.

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