The inconvenient question is why Sean Longstaff only got a chance due to injury crisis?
There are two things that I keep thinking about Sean Longstaff.
Firstly, just how good does he look?
Secondly, why on earth has it taken a injury crisis for him to ever get on the pitch?
I also have two things that I often think about Rafa Benitez.
Firstly, how ridiculous and over the top the criticism Rafa gets from media and outsiders.
Secondly, I am also left laughing at how ridiculous it is that a decent number of Newcastle fans believe the manager is infallible. That you are instantly shot down if you even dare to think/suggest he has his weaknesses.
No manager is perfect, in my lifetime as a Newcastle fan, Kevin Keegan came closest to it – but even he got something wrong occasionally.
Sir Bobby Robson was similar, but just like KK and Rafa Benitez he got the vast majority of decisions right.
With Rafa, I think he has got a weakness with younger players, far preferring to go with experience pretty much every time.
I honestly think the Newcastle boss has got lucky with Sean Longstaff.
If it wasn’t for an injury crisis, does anybody really think the 21 year old would have got any Premier League appearances this season?
It was only once Shelvey, Diame and Ki were all ruled out that Sean Longstaff at last got a Premier League start. Even then he had been behind Isaac Hayden who is desperate to leave.
It doesn’t mean Rafa Benitez is a poor manager but it is a reminder that just like any other, he can get it wrong AND as fans, we are allowed to discuss/debate what the manager does and doesn’t do, including saying where we think he might be getting things wrong. That is not the same as trolls/clowns on social media going way over the top with criticism.
In the Championship season, Rafa didn’t give young existing Newcastle players any chance, it was only Isaac Hayden who he bought, that got any kind of regular football.
Newcastle were promoted as champions so obviously it was a successful season BUT if you don’t even give young players a chance when dropping down a division then when will they get a chance.
Sean Longstaff had turned 21 a couple of months before getting on as a sub at Anfield, by that age countless other clubs will have been countless other similar aged players for some time.
It isn’t just the real obvious ones, clubs such as Southampton and Everton regularly give young up and coming players a chance.
Just like any other player, young players need opportunity.
Sean Longstaff has grabbed his with both hands.
I respectfully hope that Rafa Benitez might consider doing the same with others when/if they come along.
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