It was a tough summer for Sean Longstaff as he was in rehab recovering from a season-ending injury and unsure about where he would be playing his football this season.
The academy graduate says he was 'distracted' by the rumours linking him with a big-money switch to Manchester United.
However, the move was not forthcoming and the youngster has been an ever-present in the Newcastle United side this season.
Not able to focus
Longstaff put in a number of great performances last season which saw many touting him for his first England call up.
However, after picking up a serious injury against West Ham United he has not been able to rediscover that same form under Steve Bruce.
Longstaff's rise to the top is nothing short of amazing as he was on the brink of a move to League One Portsmouth last summer before Rafa Benitez cancelling the move insisting he wanted to keep him around the first team.
In an interview with NUFC TV he talks about his struggles over the summer, he said: “You can sometimes get distracted by the outside noise and maybe for a little bit in the summer I was a bit."
It shows how much attention he was getting from one of the biggest clubs in the world if people were talking to him and he admits to being distracted.
Longstaff added: “It’s hard not to whenever you go anywhere you see your face on the front of a newspaper and you turn the telly on people are talking about you. And it’s not like they’re talking about little things, they’re talking about things that can change your life really,”
SkySports reported over the summer that Man United officials met with Lee Charnley a number of times to try and agree on a price, however, the Magpies were holding out for £50 million.
Ready to focus on Newcastle
Longstaff appreciates the recognition as it shows he was doing something good during his breakout season.
The 21-year old is happy to have experienced teammates around him to keep his feet on the ground during a manic summer.
He added: “The expectation is half what I’ve done and it’s probably a good thing. It does just go to show I did impress people when I got my chance last year.
"So for me, it’s about not listening to them and sticking to what I do. I speak to Matty Ritchie a lot, he’s someone I lean on in the squad. He tends to keep us grounded and he’s always there with good bits of advice.
"I think I spoke to him about it and he said the reason people are speaking about you is because of what you did and keep everything so simple and ticking along and you’ve got the other stuff there if you need it."
Wanting to get back to his best
Longstaff knows he has mistakes in his locker which have been easy to see this season, especially against Watford.
The midfielder has spoken about trying to eradicate the sloppiness from his game as he gets back to full fitness and sharpness.
He went on to say: “I’m not back to where I was last year but I’m getting closer and closer and I think it’s just about working hard and getting back to that level.
"The outside noise is something I try not to listen to. It’s always going to be there now – there’ll be more eyes on me now.
“I’m only going to get back to that level with games and it’s going to take a bit of time. The kind of person I am, I want to be there straight away."