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Sean Longstaff - 'Everybody was sad to see Rafa go'

"I am just trying to get fit - that's all I can focus on. I am still a Newcastle United player. I want to get back on the pitch as soon as I can. That is what I am looking forward to doing. I make more and more progress everyday, that's all I look forward to. I can't wait to get on the pitch and impress the new boss. If somebody had said to be me a year ago I would be in this position, I would probably have laughed at them.This time last year I was deciding whether to go to League One on loan. A year on, you are seeing your name linked with one of the biggest clubs in the world. For me, it is all a positive really. It gives you even more confidence. When I was in for a short amount of time people took notice of me. It is flattering but my job is at Newcastle. The new boss is coming in and it's a clean slate for everybody - including me. I just get my head down and work on the pitch. Like anybody knows you are no use to anybody if you aren't fit.

"Nobody wanted to see Rafa Benitez go. But that's what football is - it changes, all of the time. I would say everybody was sad to see Rafa go but the squad is excited now as a new manager is coming in. Rafa leaving is in the past. It has to be positive now from within and we must all look forward. This is a new challenge and it is up to us as players. New staff members are coming in so it is about everybody pulling in the right direction. We have to look forward to the new season with a freshness and an open mind. We need to be ready to go.

"All of the players have a clean slate. It rejuvenates everybody knowing that they have to impress the new boss. The standard will go up a notch. It is something that everybody has to look forward to and relish. That's the older lads and the younger ones. It is better that way. We are all looking forward to it. There's no excuses now so to speak so everybody has to get their head down and get focused on what will happen in the future. I'm just trying to get back to fitness as soon as possible. I have stepped things up a little bit in training. I am doing more and more in the sessions so now it is about pushing on and trying to get fully fit. It has been tough because it has been brand new - I am not really used to being injured. I've never been injured before. So it has all been a new learning experience. It is something that will help me in the future."It has been a long hard road but I hope to be back on the pitch as soon as possible."

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