Newcastle star Sean Longstaff has reflected on a summer of transfer speculation that saw him linked with a £50million switch to Manchester United.
Longstaff was heavily linked with a big-money move to Old Trafford over the summer, but Newcastle managed to fend off interest from their Premier League rivals.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was looking to add another homegrown talent to his squad, having already brought in Wales international Dan James, former Crystal Palace right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Leicester’s Harry Maguire.
Longstaff, 21, has now addressed the speculation ahead of Newcastle’s trip to Liverpool at the weekend.
He told the club’s official website ahead of the game at Anfield: “I think I’ve probably grown up a lot since we were last there [at Anfield on Boxing Day 2018].
“It’s crazy how time is flying away. If you said to me last season I’d be going back this season with all that’s happened, I’d have laughed at you.
“Obviously there was speculation [about my future in the summer] and stuff that was out of my control, the outside noise you can’t really control. In terms of being more established in the team, I’d like to think I am, but obviously there’s more work to be done in terms of where Isaac [Hayden and] Jonjo [Shelvey] are, and how successful they’ve been.
“The next step is to fully established myself. Looking back, it was about looking in on the squad and getting on the bench now and then.
“Now it’s week on week [in the starting line-up] and to hopefully start as many games as I can. I think I’m in a much stronger position now.”
Get the latest personalised Magpies products on our new TEAMtalk Newcastle shop!