Eddie Howe reveals why Sean Longstaff was dropped for Newcastle United’s trip to Leicester City
Sean Longstaff was left out of Newcastle United’s matchday squad against Leicester City at the weekend.
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The Geordie midfielder was absent from the matchday squad for the trip to the King Power Stadium, where a Youri Tielemens double, and goals from Patson Daka and James Maddison inflicted a heavy defeat.
Howe, the Magpies’ head coach, has opened up on his decision to leave Longstaff out against the Foxes with a recall likely ahead of a hectic festive fixture list.
‘A selection decision’
“Yes, it was a selection decision,” Howe said, when asked by NewcastleWorld about his omission at Leicester. “Sean comes back into my thinking for this game.
“He’s certainly a very talented individual and a player I really believe in, in terms of his attributes and what he can deliver for the team.
“With the competition we have for places at that time, he missed out.”
A look at Sean Longstaff’s current situation on Tyneside
Longstaff is playing for a future at his boyhood club with his contract set to expire at the end of the campaign.
Interestingly, Howe was asked about Longstaff on the Friday before the Leicester game, and the 44-year-old seemingly put the onus on the player to prove his worth.
Howe insisted Longstaff will get his opportunity in fixtures to come, something which the young midfielder must grasp, a difficult task nevertheless with Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United to come.
In total, the 24-year-old has featured once since Howe’s arrival, which was a 19-minute cameo in the 3-3 draw at home to Brentford. That was after being a regular for Steve Bruce in the early part of the season.
Competition is high in central midfield. Jonjo Shelvey and Joe Willock have started every game under Howe together, while Isaac Hayden and Jeff Hendrick are also waiting in the wings.
In January, Longstaff is free to talk to overseas clubs. In England, former Toon manager Rafa Benitez at Everton remains an admirer having handed the player his senior debut.