The F.A today confirmed that Sean Longstaff will miss the next three games as a result of his red card against Wolves last Sunday.
While there have been murmurs from the club about an appeal, it seems fairly nailed on that any such appeal would be rejected, leaving Steve Bruce with a selection dilemma ahead of three crucial games away at West Ham, at home to Bournemouth and then away at Villa following the monotony of the next international break.
This blow has come just when Sean Longstaff was starting to recapture the form he showed last season, but is softened somewhat by the return from suspension of Issac Hayden.
It would be a huge surprise if Bruce chose either Jonjo Shelvey or Ki Sung-yeung to partner Matty Longstaff at West Ham on Saturday. Shelvey was all set to play a huge part under Bruce’s original blue print for attacking football but a series of performances ranging from underwhelming to abject have put paid to that, while former South Korean captain Ki seems to have become persona non grata since a horror show in the defeat at Norwich.
As Hayden is the only naturally defensive midfielder we have, maybe the former Arsenal man’s inclusion might give Longstaff junior a greater licence to get forward and get in and around Joelinton.
Over to you Mr Bruce.