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Longstaff relishing challenge after fixtures announced

Written by Tom Easterby

Newcastle United midfielder Sean Longstaff admits the Magpies have another tough start to the season after the 2019/20 Premier League fixture list was revealed – but says there will be an extra 'buzz' in the United camp with the new campaign just around the corner.

The 21-year-old’s impressive breakthrough at his boyhood club was halted by a knee injury suffered at West Ham United in March, but he is already back at Newcastle’s Benton training base as he works towards regaining fitness.

And now he and his teammates have learned who they will face when the new season kicks off in August, with a home clash against Arsenal to start and trips to Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool to inside the opening five games.

Longstaff acknowledged the difficulty of the fixtures ahead, but is also excited by the challenge of making his mark in what will be his first full season as a United first team player.

“It’s tough. It doesn’t look as bad as last year’s (start) but I think in the Premier League every team has so much quality, so there is no real easy game,” he told nufc.co.uk. “There’s no game you look for and think, ‘good, we’re playing them’ – it’s not like that. It’s going to be tough.

“We know the situation we’re in in terms of the teams you play against, and the top teams have got so much money these days, but it’s exciting – it’s a challenge. Hopefully we can build on last year and see if we can pick up more points than we did then.”

United have been handed some high-profile fixtures at key points over the course of the campaign, with the opening day visit of the Gunners, a Boxing Day trip to Manchester United and a final-day showdown with Champions League winners Liverpool at St. James’ Park.

Longstaff believes those eagerly-anticipated fixtures give his side a chance to prove what they can do – and feels that the announcement of this term’s top-flight schedule will only add to the anticipation as 2019/20 draws closer.

“It’s pretty similar to last year like that. It’s great to play against the big teams where you can test yourself,” he said. “We know the games we’ll probably target for points and ones that’s we’ll see if we can nick something from. It’s more exciting now – it’s about getting ready, coming back fit and being prepared for the new season.

“When the fixtures come out there’s a little buzz, everyone has a look at them and you look for the key dates. It gets everyone a bit more excited and probably makes everyone work a little bit harder when they see the fixtures come out.

“Everyone will be looking forward to this – it’s a day that everyone looks out for, because it means the season’s pretty close and it’s just around the corner. I think everyone will be buzzing, working hard and can’t wait to get back in and get going.”

You can view Newcastle United's full 2019/20 Premier League fixture list here.

"When the fixtures come out there’s a little buzz, everyone has a look at them and you look for the key dates. It gets everyone a bit more excited and probably makes everyone work a little bit harder when they see the fixtures come out."

Sean Longstaff

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