“He looks like he’s been doing it for a long time, and personally I’m delighted,” he told the Football Daily podcast [32:08]. “A product of the academy. Someone who goes to show that you don’t have to go out there and spend the money if you’ve got the talent in-house.
“He’s been outstanding. He’s keeping the likes of Ki out of the side – he’s definitely earned his place in that team. He reminds me a little bit of Michael Carrick, the way he plays, obviously he’s a box-to-box player. It’s great seeing him perform like he is.”
Ameobi is right to gush over Longstaff because he has been nothing short of sensational since coming into the team last month. It’s a struggle to think of a game where he hasn’t been one of Newcastle’s best players, and he’s really made the centre midfield position his own now. Rafael Benitez has a number of decent players in Longstaff’s position, but they all fade in comparison to the 21-year-old local lad. It’s vital for any club to have young players coming through the academy, but for a one-club city like Newcastle it feels even more crucial. They really take their homegrown players to heart and Longstaff is no exception. As for the Carrick comparison, Longstaff might actually have more to his game from an offensive standpoint. He’s not quite as brilliantly reliable a passer as the United coach, but he’s not bad in that department either. He’s certainly earned that sort of comparison over the past month or so, though.