If Football Insider’s latest ‘exclusive’ is to be believed, Matty Longstaff will reluctantly ask for a move away from Newcastle United this summer
They report that he is very unhappy by his total lack of game time across 2020/21 and believes Steve Bruce has broken a host of promises after encouraging him to sign a new deal last year on the basis he’d get game time.
In the end, he’s appeared just FIVE times in the Premier League all season and not featured once since January – despite the fact he did little wrong in rare games against Man City, Liverpool and Leicester over the festive period.
Football Insider could be way off with this one, however I would like to bet there’s some truth in this, as there was a moment in last Sunday’s 2-0 win at Fulham which absolutely stunk – and would’ve left our rarely-seen local lad pretty fed up.
With 10 minutes on the clock and our midfield tiring, Steve Bruce turned to the bench. The perfect opportunity to give Matty his first senior minutes for over four months you’d have thought, but instead he pointed to Jeff Hendrick.
Seriously, what chance has he got if he’s being ignored in situations like this?
He’s now an England U20 international and 21-years-old – just a year younger than Allan Saint-Maximin was when he arrived on Tyneside – yet it seems Bruce is still treating him like a timid 18-year-old who clearly isn’t quite ready for the bright lights of Premier League football. OK, maybe he wasn’t doing enough to get into our side when times got tough a few months back, but this was a dead rubber.
I say that – I reckon Bruce was secretly absolutely desperate to equal Rafa’s points tally and get up to 12th. Fine, but it’s not like Hendrick has been playing well, having been absolutely anonymous whenever he’s featured over the second half of the season.
As we know, Matty briefly left the club last summer after he and the club failed to agree terms over a new deal. A move to Serie A side Udinese looked to be on the cards at one point and he was also linked with the likes of Watford, Brighton and Leeds, however he ended up signing a new deal – presumably because he’d received assurances from Bruce that this WAS the place for him to get game time and progress.
A whole season later, he’s been given just 377 minutes of football and would have every right to be frustrated.
Bruce denied fellow U23 Elliot Anderson a loan move to Championship side Luton and went public in explaining why, stating he ‘had a part to play’. We secured our Premier League status earlier than expected, handing Bruce the perfect chance to play the highly-rated midfielder, yet he too hasn’t had a look in across our run in – even when he wasn’t sidelined with a hip injury.
Many questioned why Matty Longstaff only signed a ‘two-year-deal’ when he eventually agreed to a new contract last August, but I think we’re beginning to see why he was reluctant to commit any longer.
If this was Bruce’s audition, it feels like he’s failed it badly when it comes to his handling of our young talents – especially Matty.