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News: Sean Longstaff still seeks Rafa Benitez’s advice

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Sean Longstaff still keeps in contact with Rafa Benitez, according to The Athletic

What’s the latest Newcastle United news?

Former manager Benitez – who was said to be a target for Newcastle once again should the club eventually be taken over – was recently appointed as Everton manager in what is a hugely controversial move given his history with bitter rivals, Liverpool.

Still, in a testament to the influence the Spaniard had on Tyneside, Longstaff is said to seek the 61-year-old’s advice at times during what has been a difficult period without him.

Why is this relevant?

Well, The Independent claimed back in November that there some figures behind the scenes who believed the lack of coaching under Steve Bruce was part of the reason Longstaff had struggled to hit a new level after breaking into the team in 2019.

Not long after he made his first-team debut, the midfielder was linked with a move to Manchester United and drew comparison to Michael Carrick but his progress has stalled. While he did improve towards the end of the campaign as Bruce managed to keep his team in the Premier League, Longstaff was dropped between January and March.

What have the pundits said?

Speaking to Football Insider in December, former Tottenham and England goalkeeper Paul Robinson claimed Longstaff looked as if he wanted to leave St James’ Park.

“When you move to a so-called super agent with 18 months left on your contract it does not take a brain surgeon to work out that he might be looking to leave Newcastle soon,” he said.

As it stands, Longstaff hasn’t been linked away in a while despite changing agents in 2020 with Pini Zahavi now looking after his affairs. Hopefully for Newcastle, their academy graduate continues to improve.

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