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Byline: SIMON BIRD @SimonBird_

SEAN LONGSTAFF admits he is still waiting for Newcastle United to sort out new deals for himself and brother Matty.

Contract talks are dragging on with the midfield duo, and 19-year-old Matty's deal expires in June, leaving him free to leave for around only PS400,000 in compensation.

Sean has two-and-a-half years to run on his contract, but is also after a pay rise having signed a new deal in December 2018, just before he made his first-team breakthrough and betarget for Ma t er US became a Manchester United. Sources at the club say there is urgency over Matty's deal, and talks are "ongoing" but manager Steve Bruce (right) conceded recently there is an "impasse".

Club and agent are looking to the summer to strike a deal with Sean, 22, and want both Longstaffs to stay long-term.

Asked about his contract situation, Sean said: "Me and Matty, we're waiting for the club, really. It's up to them what they want to do."

It is understood fresh talks have taken place and improved offers made.

Sean has turned to Geordie team-mate Paul Dummett for advice on how to cope with the scrutiny young local stars get on Tyneside, including how to "prove people wrong".

And he has vowed to bounce back from the criticism of some of his performances this season after returning to fitness following a knee injury last March. Newcastle are on a poor run of one win in nine league games and Sean said: "At times, I feel like I've done all right, but football's a game of opinions.

"I'm my toughest critic. I can walk off the pitch and know if I've done enough. To go out and play football for Newcastle is something I've always dreamt of. It's been a great year.

"There have been ups and downs, but you've got to go through the tough times to build yourself as a person and a player - it helps you get to the next level.

"That's what this year's been like. Ultimately, it's been a great year, and I've enjoyed every second of it. For me, it's about building and being positive for the future."

Home-grown talent often receives harsh criticism on Tyneside, with local lads Steve Taylor, Shola Ameobi and Dummett all suffering tough scrutiny in the past.

Sean added: "There's no one better to speak about it. I remember going to watch Dummy, and we could win 10-0 and he would still do something wrong (in some people's eyes).

"If you don't win games, people ask questions. It's like anything. The fans are amazing, they give you their full support, and I'm trying to give my best.

"Maybe bits of quality might not happen, but you can't question how much I am giving to the club. That won't stop."


Matty (left) and Sean are hoping to get their futures cleared up very soon GRIN AND BEAR IT

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Author:SIMON BIRD @SimonBird_
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 28, 2020
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