The 19-year-old burst onto the scene by scoring the game’s only goal in the 1-0 victory over Manchester United last time out, but Elliot has warned fans not to expect that every week.
“It’s given the club a massive lift in the fact that we had a tough result [against Leicester] but it just showed there is lots of optimism coming through and we’ve got a new star on the rise,” he told The Chronicle. “I would just say, don’t expect him to do that every week. He’s a young kid and we still have to look after him.
“It’s not to say he’s going to play every game until the end of the season, obviously I’m not involved in that process but we just need to make sure that we understand he’s still a young lad at 19. What he did was absolutely amazing and hopefully he goes on to keep replicating that. But his development isn’t just next weekend, it’s over the next three, four years.”
Elliot speaks a lot of sense, here. Longstaff is a massive prospect for the future, but suddenly he’s being held up as an instant first team star. It doesn’t work like that, though. From Federico Mahceda to Reece Oxford, Premier League history is littered with youngsters who made a big impact only to fade into obscurity. Right now that looks unlikely for the younger Longstaff, of course, bu we can’t entirely rule it out just because he played excellently against Man United. As Elliot says, his development is over several years, not just the next few weeks of first team action. He is still a teenager and so his performances are going to fluctuate, they’re not all going to be like the United one. That’s what Elliot is trying to say, here. He sees a young boy with gigantic expectations suddenly on him and he wants to protect him a little bit. Credit to him for that, and he’s done a good job of laying out the situation here.