Steve Bruce has spoken about his ‘delight’ at having Matty Longstaff back at his disposal – but admits the midfielder hadn’t been himself before his return to the side.
The NUFC boss has revealed that he “lost a lot of weight” and also suffered a “horrible” injury which was “never right” until now – perhaps explaining his prolonged absence from the squad despite him eventually signing a new contract.
After no starts all season, he was thrown into the deep end in recent weeks against the best two sides in the division – Man City and Liverpool – but passed that test with flying colours, giving our midfield a new, energetic dimension and performing admirable in both.
Speaking ahead of today’s clash with Leicester, here’s what Bruce has had to say about the 20-year-old’s recent form and unexplained absence:
“Look, the way he has played is very well. We’ll see how he recovers.
“As I say, I was worried about him for a long time over the last couple of months.
“He lost a lot of weight, didn’t look himself and had a horrible, niggling injury which niggled away at him and was never right.
“We’ve had to wait a long time for him but today, again, just like what he did in his debut a few months ago (Man Utd, October 2019) he showed what a good player he is.
“He’s done very well, I’m delighted he is back.”
The past week has seen a stark turnaround for the baby faced 20-year old, with some of our fanbase believing him to be headed for the exit door and questioning whether he will regret signing a new deal in the summer.
Every time Bruce has put his faith into young Matty he has never been let down. With Hayden missing today through to suspension, Longstaff has pencilled himself in as a certain starter if he is fit to play.
What he gives is energy, legs and heart in midfield, with him also looking calm and composed on the ball in his last two outings.
Who knows, we could even see him start alongside his older brother in a few hours time!