Isaac Hayden has backed academy graduate Sean Longstaff to go from strength to strength after the youngster’s emergence this season. Hayden has been impressed as Longstaff has taken his chance in the Newcastle first team this season, making nine senior appearances in recent weeks in Rafa Benitez’s side, scoring once.
The 21-year-old is tipped to become a regular over the next 12 months and Hayden cannot speak highly enough of his young team-mate, who he believes underlines just how fruitful academies can be if players are handled well.
He told the Newcastle website: “People say ‘is the academy worth it?’ I came from an academy, he’s come from an academy and I think that they are worth persevering with – the players just need the opportunity. “The manager’s given him the opportunity and he’s taken it. That’s a credit to him and he’s been a credit to the academy, I must say. It’s what every young player needs to do when they get given the chance. “He’s going to be a really, really good player – as long as he keeps learning and keeps listening to the correct people. Physically, he’s unbelievable. “He’s got a great grounding. He’s not slow, he’s powerful, he can win headers and he’s good on the ball. He’s a top, top, quality young player.”