'It’s a concern for us all': Steve Bruce addresses Matty Longstaff's contract situation
Steve Bruce says he’s “concerned” at the impasse in contract talks which is threatening the Newcastle United future of Matty Longstaff.
Longstaff, out of contract at the end of the season, will return to the starting XI for tomorrow night’s FA Cup replay against Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium if he passes a late fitness test.
The 19-year-old’s representatives have been in talks over a new deal since he memorably scored the club’s winner against Manchester United on his Premier League debut in October.
A new deal has also been on the agenda for Sean Longstaff, his elder sibling, since last March, when an impressive run in the team was brought to an end by a season-ending injury.
However, there hasn’t been any progress on either front in recent months, and Inter and AC Milan have been linked with moves for Matty.
United, meanwhile, failed in a £35million move for 20-year-old Lille midfielder Soumare Boubakary in last month’s transfer window. The bid was questioned on Tyneside given the ability and potential of the Longstaff brothers and the seemingly more pressing need for another striker at St James’s Park.
Asked about Matty’s contract, Bruce said: “It’s a concern for us all, of course it is. I hope we can get that tied up, I really do.
“But, they’ve got the power these days, the players. We see it often now, with young players as well.
“I hope there’s a bit of common sense. There’s nobody, at 19, who has played more games than him. He’s got an opportunity.
“In all of it, with Matty has now played 11, 12 times. I’ve dipped him in and out. I can’t see another 19-year-old playing (regularly at Premier League level).”
Bruce wasn’t able to give an update on talks with Sean, who signed a new deal keeping him at the club until 2022 before his first-team breakthrough.
United’s head coach said: “I really don’t know where they’re up to in terms of that, I don’t know.
“Look, we always want to keep your best young players, especially if they’re Geordies, of course. Let’s hope they both get tied up.”