Sean Longstaff out to match brother Matty by toppling Manchester United
Sean Longstaff will run out at Wembley hoping to dethrone younger brother Matty as the scourge of Manchester United.
The Longstaff boys enjoyed a day their whole family will always remember in October 2019 when then 19-year-old Matty blasted Newcastle to a 1-0 victory over the Red Devils on his Premier League debut with Sean on the pitch alongside him.
On Sunday, it will be the older brother holding centre stage as the Magpies attempt to end their 68-year wait for a domestic trophy in the Carabao Cup final against Erik ten Hag’s side with his semi-final, second leg double against Southampton having helped to book their place.
⚫⚪ He's one of our own...
Watch brief highlights - including @mattylobby48's goal on his @premierleague debut - on NUFC TV now.
▷ https://t.co/WK8sEPruS8 pic.twitter.com/oVrCGtf5DP
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) October 6, 2019
Asked if Matty’s heroics back in 2019 – he scored again in a 4-1 defeat in the reverse fixture – remains his family’s biggest achievement to date, Sean said: “It still is if you ask Matty!
“No. To share the pitch with my brother, do it in the Premier League against Manchester United, is a memory I won’t forget.”
Matty, now 22, is currently recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament injury suffered on loan at League Two Colchester on Boxing Day after a testing period in his fledgling career.
Sean too has tasted both highs and lows, at one point having a valuation of £50million placed on his head as Manchester United expressed an interest in 2019, but later slipping down the pecking order at St James’ Park during Steve Bruce’s spell as head coach.
If it wasn’t for him (Matt Ritchie) getting me on the right track, I probably wouldn’t be playing for Newcastle now.
Indeed at the suggestion of team-mate Matt Ritchie, he sought the help of a psychologist to help him deal with the pressure of trying to re-establish himself.
He said: “I was miserable, to be fair. In training… Can I swear? I was a bit of a tit and I wasn’t nice to be around and he (Ritchie) eventually saw that.
“Some people just let you drift away, but he was one who pulled me back and he said, ‘Longy, you need to sort it out’. He texted me and said, ‘You need to speak to this guy and speak to him now’.
“Two and a half years later, if it wasn’t for him getting me on the right track, I probably wouldn’t be playing for Newcastle now.”
Local boy Longstaff at the double! #EFL | @NUFC pic.twitter.com/RRDB2FprHz
— Carabao Cup (@Carabao_Cup) January 31, 2023
Eddie Howe’s arrival as head coach has also proved pivotal for Longstaff, who along with defender Fabian Schar, Joelinton and Miguel Almiron, has blossomed under the 45-year-old’s charge.
He said: “He is someone I will be forever grateful to and he has saved my Newcastle career in a way.
“We had conversations when we were sorting my contract out and he was saying stuff I don’t think even I believed, but luckily he believed in me and lots came true.”
As one of the home-grown players in Howe’s squad, Longstaff knows only too well the hunger for success in the city and had an insight into what might follow victory at Wembley when he met up with his father David, a former Great Britain ice hockey international, after the semi-final.
He said: “He was doing Dry January, but that went out the window. I went upstairs and he got a bit emotional. I hadn’t seen him get emotional like that since Matty scored against Manchester United.”