EDDIE HOWE insists Sean Longstaff has a long-term future at Newcastle United – but admits contract talks with the midfielder might have to wait until after the end of the transfer window.

Longstaff has entered the final six months of his current deal at St James’ Park, and has been linked with a possible move away from Tyneside this month.

Everton boss Rafael Benitez is keen to take the 24-year-old to Goodison Park, but Howe insists Longstaff remains an important part of his own plans for the Magpies.

The midfielder has been in and out of the side for most of the season, but started last weekend’s FA Cup third-round defeat to Cambridge United.

Howe said: “January is very, very intense for everyone connected with the club, and trust me, this has been the most intense January I’ve experienced.

“So, in terms of our current players that are out of contract, that may well have to wait until the end of January when we know we’re secure in what we’ve done.

“Sean has a long-term future at this football club. I’ve been impressed with him since I’ve come in. He’s been committed, he’s trained well and he’s earned his place in the team. He got an opportunity against Man United, and I thought he was excellent.

“I thought the team weren’t particularly good against Cambridge, so we’re looking for a response from the team, and Sean is part of that team.”