Graeme Souness has claimed that Sean Longstaff was unlucky in the incident leading up to his red card against Wolves on Sunday, but has suggested that his challenge did merit a sending off.
The Newcastle United midfielder was given his marching orders for a high challenge on Ruben Neves late in the 1-1 draw at St. James’ Park, but ex Toon boss Souness has expressed his sympathy for the youngster.
Speaking on Sky Sports, as quoted by the Chronicle, he said: “I think he is a wee bit unlucky here. He goes to ground early, he doesn’t get a lot of the ball which might be a bit of the problem. He leaves his foot there to dangle.
“It is a sending off but I would cut him slack with that as I don’t think he’s meant it.”
Souness is bang on the money with this one. It’s not a great challenge at all from Longstaff, and he deserves to see red, but in no way, shape, or form is there any malice involved in what he does. It’s a stretching challenge that means his momentum carries him through, and because he leaves his leg dangling, the non-committal approach actually means that his boot makes contact higher up the shin than it might have otherwise. It’s an error in judgement and nothing more, and you just have to hope that Longstaff learns from his mistake. Prior to the red, he’d been playing okay, and with two key passes and three shots, as per Whoscored, he was one of the more lively Newcastle players on display. Still, he misses the next one, and that could be a real blow for the Toon Army.