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2021-2022-Season

#PLStories- Sean Longstaff reveals text from Matt Richie for emotional support #NUFC

Sean Longstaff Newcastle

Sean Longstaff has revealed an ‘out of the blue’ text from Newcastle United team-mate Matt Ritchie helped him seek help on the day he almost reached ‘rock bottom’.  In a revealing interview with the club’s programme before Sunday’s defeat to Tottenham, Longstaff has spoken of the moment a year ago when the pressures and scrutiny that come with representing his boyhood club led to him breaking down.

Sean Longstaff said: “My dad was there for us at that time. Sometimes you just need a big hug. It was probably the day which turned everything around for me. I’d say I’m always quite stubborn. But I knew that day when I spoke to my dad and Matty, it stripped everything back. They’re the most honest people. It was just us in the room. My brother left and I spoke to my dad for ten minutes. That was as close to rock bottom as I’ve been.”

The conversation with his father and brother Matty, who is currently on loan at Aberdeen, was the day Longstaff began to address the mental health concerns which had plagued him for months. It was a process aided by a message from Ritchie, and one the midfielder has now opened up after scoring his first goal for more than a year in the recent draw at Watford.

Sean Longstaff added: “It was that day, actually, that Matt Ritchie – out of the blue – sent us a message and said, ‘do this – you need to speak to him (the psychologist)’. I was able to build from that. It’s just built, built, built over time. Little building blocks. Getting back in the squad for a game, getting back in the team – it’s all been little building blocks.”

The United Academy graduate has endured a tricky spell in black-and-white since his sensational breakthrough under Rafa Benitez in 2018. A posterior cruciate ligament injury sidelined Longstaff just as he was cementing his first-team spot, and the midfielder has since struggled to nail down a regular starting spot under Steve Bruce. Speculation over the 23-year-old’s has surfaced in recent weeks, with less than a year to run on his contract and a move to Benitez’s Everton linked.

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