Newcastle United round-up: Merino praises Benitez; Bournemouth want Longstaff; Eddie Jones visit

Newcastle United find themselves in the top four after five Premier League matches and Mikel Merino believes that they can stay there. The midfielder claims that Rafa Benitez has found the perfect system to maximise their talents. The Mirror report the following comments from the 21-year-old:

“We are really pleased with our start to the season. It is so ­enjoyable for us to play matches here and of course it is even better to be winning. We have to keep going, this doesn’t stop. We have to keep playing with this effort, this rhythm, and ­winning if we can.

“It would have been perfect if we’d won all the matches but the way we are playing, the way the team thinks about playing football, the penetration and concentration – all these things are perfect at the moment.”

There is a good mood around St James’ Park and it is clear from the above comments that the players are buying into the style of play. It hasn’t been pretty at times as they prefer to operate without the ball, but it is effective. The confidence levels are sky high and no team will be relishing the prospect of traveling to the North East.

Sean Longstaff has been catching the eye with his performances for Blackpool in League 1. There were unlikely to be opportunities for him in the Newcastle first team, but he has impressed on loan and Premier League clubs are starting to track him. The Chronicle report that Bournemouth are scoring the 19-year-old midfielder.

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Newcastle want him to continue to gain experience before returning to the club next summer to fight for a first-team opportunity. It shows the merits of the loan market as he was unknown before his loan to Blackpool and it is encouraging that Premier League clubs are looking at him as it proves he has talent. Benitez will want to bring more players in from the academy and Longstaff could be the first to make a real impact if he continues to develop.

Eddie Jones has visited the Little Benton training complex and St James’ Park on Monday. He looked at the facilities, talked to players and gave a series of talks. The England rugby coach is well respected in sport and told NUFCtv that he was impressed with the club’s facilities:

“I’m very impressed with the Academy. I’ve sat down and had a chat with Joe (Joyce) and I’m looking forward to meeting some of the players, the parents and the coaching staff.

“This is one of the greatest football clubs in England so it’s lovely to have the opportunity to be here.”

This might not be seen as important, but a coach with Jones’ experience in sport, he will have offered great advice to both the staff and the players. It can provide a lift to have somebody that well known come in and show interest in the goings on. His comments about the facilities and the club show the size of Newcastle United.

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