Matty Longstaff may be in line for his Newcastle debut tonight when the Magpies face off against Leicester City in the Carabao Cup.
Matty had an active pre-season with the first-team and featured in all five of the games. While just 19-years-old, he has worked his way into head coach Steve Bruce’s plans this season.
Last week, the younger Longstaff gave an interview in which he spoke about his whirlwind summer:
“I’ve loved every minute of it, and I can’t thank Steve Bruce and his coaching staff enough.
“They’ve helped me every day. They’ve trusted me to go and play. When I have got on, I’m doing enough to stay around the place and remain part of the squad.
“By staying here, even training with the lads every day will help you improve. These are some of the best players around. If I can learn from them, it’ll be great for me.”
“At the start of pre-season my aim was to get out on loan, but pre-season went well, and I’ve remained in the squad.
“It was completely different to the way it was mapped out.”
Matty seems to have really impressed Steve Bruce since he arrived. The original plan for Matty was to go on loan, but Bruce has kept him behind as the team’s fifth midfielder.
This is what Steve Bruce has said about Matty as published in the Daily Mail.
“I didn’t know anything about him until five weeks ago.
“I saw this bright red face running around China – I thought he was going to burst! I thought, “Is he alright?”. He’s the way I used to go when you’re red like that in the heat.
“But Matty has got bounds of enthusiasm. He’s impressed me enormously over the last four, five weeks. He’s been training with us all the time, so I think it could be a good time to give him his debut.
“He’s bright, he’s tenacious, can score a goal – he’s got all the stuff you need to succeed. He’s got a huge desire to do well, like his brother.”
From these comments, it appears as though Steve Bruce is giving serious consideration to handing young Matty his Newcastle debut tonight at St James Park. While Steve Bruce is starved for choice at either end of the pitch due to the mini-injury crisis reported yesterday, in the midfield he has plenty of options available.
Jonjo Shelvey and Ki Sung-yueng didn’t feature at Tottenham and will be looking to get back in the team. Also, Sean Longstaff and Isaac Hayden were not mentioned as carrying knocks from the Spurs game. Though with Sean returning from a long-term knee injury, we would expect him to be rested for the game tonight.
If Matty does come into the side tonight, it will be part of a makeshift squad. With Joelinton, Miguel Almiron, Jamaal Lascelles, and Fabian Schar likely to miss out, the team will be short of options upfront and at the back.
We would have preferred Matty to come into a side that was established and experienced, where he could just slot into a cohesive unit. Though, we suppose any chance for a debut at St James Park will have the youngster ready and raring to go.