Sean Longstaff enjoyed his “perfect night” as he rubbed shoulders with Manchester City’s aristocrats and got the better of them.
The 21-year-old Newcastle academy graduate has been thrown in at the deep end in recent weeks, with Jonjo Shelvey, Mohamed Diame and Ki Sung-yueng all injured.
But, having cut his teeth in defeats to Liverpool and Chelsea around the turn of the year, he was pitched into battle with City stars Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Leroy Sane at St James’ Park on Tuesday evening and emerged on the right end of a 2-1 scoreline.
Longstaff said: “It’s unbelievable for me to be able to see where I am, as a young 21-year-old lad, trying to break in to see what the top level is.
“Obviously you want to get into the Premier League, but that [playing against Manchester City] is a different level.
“That’s Champions League, that’s some of the best players in the world on the pitch, so, for me to be able to play against them first-hand is unbelievable.
“If there was a perfect night, it would be to beat probably one of the top teams in the world at a place like St James’ with the fans helping us get over the line.
“It was unbelievable, and probably one of the best nights of my life so far.”
If Longstaff was scarcely able to take in what unfolded during an eventful 90 minutes, he was not alone.