Matty Longstaff breaks his Newcastle United silence after being overlooked by Steve Bruce
The 21-year-old signed a new two-year contract with his boyhood club last August despite strong interest from Udinese and Watford.
His commitment to the Magpies had expected to signal more first-team opportunities, however Longstaff has been largely left on the sidelines – making just five Premier League appearances.
Longstaff started against Manchester City, Liverpool, Leicester City and Arsenal over the festive period but hasn’t featured since.
It is understood the player was open to joining Watford’s Championship promotion charge in January but Bruce decided not to sanction a loan deal.
Joe Willock then arrived from Arsenal, which pushed the former England under-20s international further down the pecking order.
Indeed, Longstaff has barely made the 18-man matchday squad in recent months with his continued absence a real surprise among the United fanbase.
Longstaff admits this season has been a difficult one but is hopeful that will change as Bruce’s side prepare for the 2021/22 Premier League campaign.
He told BBC Newcastle: "This year has been a big learning curve for me - last year I kind of got thrown in and I thought I did pretty well, got a few games under my belt but this year hasn't really gone to plan.
"But as I said, it's been a big learning curve and you have times like these in your career which are tough and you have to get through it but hopefully next year can be a big one with whatever may happen."