While some may think the Magpies central midfielder is destined to improve simply due to still only being 22-years-old, that isn’t the case.
After all, some players break on the scene only to never kick on, see currently loaned out Magpies winger Rolando Aarons for an example.
Attitude and ambition play a big part in determining whether a player kicks on and it seems Longstaff ticks all the boxes when it comes to having a fantastic attitude as well as a desire to get better, based on McNall’s latest interview.
The former Magpies U-23s striker spent over a decade playing alongside Longstaff in Newcastle’s academy and opened up about what the midfielder was like.
“I always knew he would do well because he has the attitude that he is obsessed with football,” McNall said in an interview with the Chronicle.
“He is obsessed with getting better and you could see that from a young age.
“We used to train together, and he would scream at players around him because he set such high standards for himself and he wanted other players to reach those standards too.”
When you consider that the 22-year-old was shouting at his teammates and has already had a high standard for himself, it shows he has a natural desire to get better so that probably hasn’t left him.
This is even the case when you consider he has broken into the Magpies’ first-team as based on McNall’s description of him, he likely has ambitious goals of going all the way in football and won’t be satisfied by just reguarly featuring in the Premier League.
Longstaff has played 17 times in England’s top-flight, contributing one goal in the process, and his stats show there is room for improvement.
While the 22-year-old has wowed defensively as he has won 69% of the tackles he has made in the division and he has already racked up 16 clearances as well as 19 interceptions, the attacking side of his game could improve. (Source: Premier League)
After all, Longstaff has only contributed one goal and has only managed to create three big chances so far in his Premier League career, as per the Premier League’s website, despite having opportunities to create more chance.
The 22-year-old has averaged 1.4 key passes per game across his league outings this season after all, as per WhoScored, which suggests he is getting into areas where he could potentially put chances on a plate for the club’s strikers.
The Magpies midfielder’s main role in the team may not be to contribute to the attack, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be trying to do more to become an all-around player and given his attitude, he probably is working on that side of his game.
So while Longstaff clearly isn’t the finished article and you never can guarantee how good a young player can become, it does seem likely that the midfielder is likely heading in the right direction based on what McNall had to say.