Sean Longstaff has been the breakout star of this season for Newcastle United. Having scored his first goal against Burnley, and creating a multitude of chances in his starts, Longstaff has proven himself a quality midfield option for Rafa, something the manager is in desperate need for.
But that all has to come to an end as Longstaff is expected to be out of commission for the rest of the season, leaving Newcastle without a talented midfield option. This gives every midfielder from Mo Diame to Ki Sung-yueng a chance to be featured until the end of the season.
With Longstaff injured Rafa is likely to go with a different pairing
This means that Isaac Hayden may also find his starting position in jeopardy. That’s right. Hayden and Longstaff had a very strong connection, but with Longstaff out for the season, Rafa may need to look at other options to create synergy and connection on the pitch.
This could affect Isaac Hayden’s place in the lineup. Hayden has been a joy to watch in the latter part of the season, but we need players to actually create a connection that benefits Almiron, Perez, and Rondon (the three amigos) up front. This could mean some changes are coming.
We will likely see Jonjo Shelvey back on the pitch, but with whom remains a question. Training will have been crucial these past couple of days, and tomorrow we will find out just how Rafa Benitez is prepared to shakeup this lineup.
Jonjo Shelvey and Isaac Hayden would be a decent pairing almost. While Hayden is a more defensive midfielder, Shelvey has good ability to create chances on the ball and cross. But this is unlikely to be the case.
The pairing for tomorrow’s matchup looks as if it will be a familiar one. Jonjo Shelvey and Mo Diame are poised to make the team sheet as starters, marking Shelvey’s first match back from his injury.
Longstaff’s injury is a prolonged one
There should be absolutely no rush to get Longstaff back to full ability. Messing with a youngster’s knee is just something you don’t do. The club has something that they haven’t had in a long while, and that’s options in midfield. Yoshinori Muto, Ki, Diame, Shelvey, and Hayden are all capable players in their own right.
I’d venture to say that the midfield is in good hands. Hopefully they keep in the shape that Longstaff left it. Pristine.