Newcastle United fans have a right to be concerned with the lack of local talent coming through at St James’ Park.
After all, Paul Dummett, who has been a first-team regular for four seasons, is the most recent academy graduate to hold down a regular place in the first-team, although this might be different had injuries not left Rolando Aarons glued to the treatment table.
And when manager Rafael Benitez admitted earlier in the season that giving youth a chance wasn’t necessarily a priority, per the Sunderland Echo, Newcastle supporters may have been concerned that this football mad city would continue without ‘one of their own’ lighting up the St. James’ turf.
However, a 19-year-old from South Shields offers some reason for optimism. Sean Longstaff may not have played a single second for Newcastle’s first-team but his sensational form on loan at Blackpool, where he will stay until January, has offered a tantalising glimpse of his promise.
One of the most highly-rated graduates from the club’s academy in recent years, Longstaff has scored four goals in four games for the League One club, including the winner in Saturday’s 1-0 triumph over AFC Wimbledon.
Though it is not just the frequency of the goals but the nature of them too which has Newcastle supporters hyping over the teenage midfielder.
Longstaff always had a reputation for the odd moment of divine intervention but he has honed a penchant for serious wondergoals at Blackpool, his strike in last week’s 2-1 win against Oldham combining power and lethal precision.
As it stands, Longstaff will return to Newcastle in the New Year. Whether Benitez is willing to give him a chance remains to be seen but, if supporters get their way, Longstaff will be a feature of the first-team squad before long.