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Features

Matthew Longstaff's FA Youth Cup pen pics

NUFC Logo Newcastle United FC

Newcastle United begin their FA Youth Cup campaign with a tough third round tie at Brighton & Hove Albion on Thursday evening. The Magpies will be hoping to match or even better last season's run to the quarter-finals, and ahead of the trip to the Amex Stadium, midfielder Matthew Longstaff gave nufc.co.uk the lowdown on his team-mates...

Thomas Allan (forward)
Loves the gym - he's part of (Academy physio) Stephen Weir's gym group. He likes to look good; he's got the highlighted tips in the hair and stuff.
Off the field, he's quite sarcastic and pretty funny. On it, he's rapid and likes to get in behind defences and he'll be looking to get more goals in the competition after scoring twice against Swansea last season.

Max Allen (defender)
When he first came in, I thought he was dead quiet but he's actually really funny. He's got a dry sense of humour.
He only joined full-time in the summer but he's played most games and been solid. He's very steady and does everything right.

Kieren Aplin (midfielder)
I used to go to school with Kieren so I've known him since we were about seven. I played with him when we were growing up and we used to get lifts to the Academy together all the time with our parents. Sandra, his mam, is one of the funniest people ever.
He can be a bit of a nutter but he's a really nice lad and his left foot is unreal. I don't think he'll be fit for this one but he'll be hoping we can get through on Thursday so he came come back and play in the competition.

Ryan Barrett (midfielder)
We were injured at the same time for a while earlier this season and he's a really nice, funny lad. On the pitch, he's an athlete - quick, powerful and strong, so he helps the team a lot in that regard.

Will Brown (goalkeeper)
He's still an under-16 so isn't here full time, but he's very mature for his age. When he plays in net, he shows a real calmness, which you need as a goalkeeper, and if he plays I think he could easily step in and do a really good job.

Lewis Cass (defender)
Another lad I went to school with - I've known him since reception and we do everything together, including playing golf.
He's a solid performer; he knows his role and he does it very well. He doesn't give up any opportunities and sets an example to the group.

Thomas Cole (forward)
He's really funny, really funny. He doesn't mind having a bit of a joke around but he's one of the best finishers I've seen.
He puts the ball in the back of the net from anywhere and scored against Chelsea at the weekend with a really good finish.

Isaac Gamblin (defender)
The lazy man! He loves lying down in the changing room and falling asleep. He's really laid back, and loves a moan in training, but when he plays he's really good and he's a sound lad.
He missed a lot of last season through injury but he's back now.

Mace Goodridge (midfielder) below
He's from Manchester and joined us from City a couple of years ago, but he's settled in really well. He's quite relaxed and laid back but he's a very good player in midfield who gets on the ball and keeps it simple.
He's very aggressive on the pitch and wins the back for the team, which is a great help for us - and especially for me as my midfield partner. I enjoy playing with him.

Otto Huuhtanen (goalkeeper)
It can sometimes be hard to speak to him because his English isn't great - he joined us from Ilves in his native Finland - but he always tries and his English is getting a lot better so you can have more craic with him. He's even getting a Geordie twang now!
At the start of the year, he was quite reserved but he's come out of his shell a lot and he's a really nice kid.

Sam Joyce (midfielder)
He's another really funny lad, and comes out with little sarcastic one-liners.
He's technically really good - he sees passes and slips strikers and wingers in really well.

Deese Kasinga Madia (forward)
He likes a little joke around - the other day, he was caught on the analyst's camera having a little dance on the training pitch!
As a player, he's strong, powerful, quick and can beat a man one-on-one to get crosses in.

Dan Langley (goalkeeper)
He's only recently joined us. He's massive - I think he's 6ft 7ins - and he's a really good shot-stopper. He made a triple-save from me and Lewis Cass in training this week; I don't know how he did it, but his arms and legs are that big that we couldn't get the ball past him.
I think he's a pretty good golfer, so he's talented in other sports too.

Oisin McEntee (midfielder)
I probably hang around with him as much as anyone. He came over from Ireland in the summer and has settled in really well. He loves a little play-fight and as a player, he just doesn't lose anything - he's dead calm and picks the right pass.
In the SuperCupNI in the summer, he was one of our best players and hopefully he will be at his best against Brighton.

Jack Robson (forward)
A crazy man. He does everything at 100 miles an hour when he plays, but it works a lot. He can beat a man and put the ball in the back of the net.
He scored four goals at the SuperCupNI before getting injured - I think if he'd stayed fit, we could have won it.

Off the pitch, he loves singing. He loves a bit of opera but he does everything - he did a bit of rap last week! He's got the best voice here by a mile. He could probably be a singer, he's that good.

Kurtis Russell (forward)


Off the pitch, he's Mr. Cool. His hair's always looking good. As a player, he's very tricky and beats players.
I think he bases himself on Neymar and (Eden) Hazard and you can see that when he plays. He's really skilful.

Elias Sorensen (forward)
He's Danish but when he speaks English, he's so Geordie! If he shouts on the pitch, it's always 'howay man!'. It's weird when you hear that in a foreign accent...
He's big, strong and can hold the ball up. When he shoots, he gets a lot of power and he's our top scorer this year.

Oliver Walters (defender)
Another one who loves the gym. He's solid, gets up and down the wing and puts balls in. He did his ACL the season before last so missed all of last year, and he was a big miss, but he's probably been one of our best players this year.
He's constantly winding people up and waiting for a reaction.

Kelland Watts (forward) above
Loves attention! Off the field, he's loud and always winding people up, especially in the classroom with (Academy tutor) Jo Zoppi. He's constantly trying to get her attention.
But he's dead nice - happy and loud, and I think you need that. He keeps the mood up.
And on the field, he's a massive asset. This year I think he's been one of our best players. He's played all over the pitch for us - centre-half, number ten, and wherever he plays he's always been one of the best players which I think shows how good he is.

Adam Wilson (midfielder)
He's very tricky, gets down the wing and gets crosses in. He tries to get his shots off, too. In the FA Youth Cup last year against Sunderland, he ran the game and was the best player by a mile.
He won us that game almost single-handedly and he'll be looking to do the same against Brighton on the big stage.
You know you've got to win or you're out and that brings extra pressure, but he will rise to that.

Jack Young (midfielder)
He's really neat with the ball - he doesn't give it aways but he likes to play it forward a lot. He creates goals and he can score them as well, which as midfielder is a big positive.
Off the pitch, he's easy to speak to and have a laugh with. As a team, we all joke on with each other, which is good for morale.

And finally... Matthew Longstaff (midfielder)
I don't know how to describe myself! I'm probably quite loud and I try to have a joke in the changing room and keep the morale going. I also try to be there if people need to speak to me.
On the pitch, I just try to give 100 per cent and do things that will benefit the team. I've captained the team in most games this season and I just try to set a good example to my team-mates.
I'm lucky because there are other leaders too and they're a good group of lads - they don't need shouting at loads so you just encourage them more than anything and try to show a bit of leadership.
We haven't been doing too well in the league but to be honest, in a lot of the games we should have got results so while we're not in the best form, the FA Youth Cup is completely different.
Everything goes out of the window, it's a one-off game and we're hungry. We know what it means to get through. Last year, we went to the quarter-finals and knowing that there's the chance to play at St. James' Park if we get through is a massive incentive. That's something you dream of as a kid.
We know Brighton will be a good side - they beat us 3-2 earlier in the season - but we know if we play well we can win and go through. We're looking forward to it and relishing the opportunity to show how good we are.

"It's a one-off game and we're hungry. Knowing that there's the chance to play at St. James' Park if we get through is a massive incentive. That's something you dream of as a kid."

Matthew Longstaff

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