Matty Longstaff on being star-struck at Newcastle United, following in his £50m-rated brother's footsteps and making his own mark at St James's Park

Newcastle United midfielder Matty Longstaff is living the dream at St James's Park.

Wednesday, 28th August 2019, 18:31 pm
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - AUGUST 03: Matty Longstaff of Newcastle United scores his team's second goal during the Pre-Season Friendly match between Newcastle United and AS Saint - Etienne at St. James Park on August 03, 2019 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The midfielder has gone from a lad with a red face head coach Steve Bruce hadn't even heard of, to a player right at the heart of his future plans.

Longstaff's sudden rise in many ways mirrors his £50million-rated brother Sean's of last season - and the player admits he's looking to emulate his older sibling in black and white.

People say they dream of it, but when you're younger you don't think it's actually going to happen, that you will get to play for your boyhood team with your older brother," he says of pre-season in China.

"We were meant to come on together I think (against West Ham in Nanjing), but the way the game was going we didn't want to just start throwing people on, so he went on. I was happier for him at the time because he's been out for so long with his injury and he just wanted to get back, so for me and the family it was, 'he's back now, that's good'.

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"Then I remember thinking, 'I could get on here'. Neil Redfearn and Ben Dawson called me over and then it was 'we're going to play for Newcastle together'."

Siblings in the same team is not something alien to United - with the Ameobis following on from the famous Robledo's from the 1950s.

And Longstaff is hopeful that, with hard work and application, as well as a little bit of help from his brother, Matty can join Sean as a first-team regular for the Magpies this season - even if he admits to being a little star struck around the first-team ranks from time to time.

"I lean on him quite a bit in certain scenarios," said Matty of his working relationship with his brother.

"The biggest thing is every training session, you have to just make sure you're on it. And enjoying and learning as well. You take every day as it comes. You can't look ahead and think about a month's time because in a day's time, in pre-season, you could be sent back down to the academy or heading out on loan. I just tried to take every opportunity I got.

"They (the first team) have got a good bond and they're pretty welcoming for young kids. Even on the pre-season tour, you speak to them or sit next to them on the bus, and you go from watching them week-in, week-out and you're like 'that's Jonjo Shelvey', but they're just normal people.

"They've helped me feel a lot more comfortable."

Head coach Bruce joked this week about seeing a lad running about on the training pitches of Nanjing when he arrived 'looking like he was going to burst'.

It seems it's a running joke with Longstaff and the United hierarchy - but one he takes with the lightness it's intended.

"I had a joke with the manager and the assistants. I had the orange kit on (against St-Etienne), and they said 'you look like you've been tangoed'. I only needed a pair of orange boots and I'd have looked the part," he joked.

"I remember just going on wanting to enjoy it. It didn't know if it would be my last involvement before I was going out on loan.

Allan (Saint-Maximin) and Jetro (Willems) were doing a bit of skill in the corner so I wanted to get into space. When it went to Sean, he passed it and I thought I might as well hit it and see. When it went in, it was like 'oh' - that's a pretty good feeling."

That goal will live long in the memory in the Longstaff household, as well as those lucky enough to witness it.

And Longstaff admits he knew it was coming - well, sort of.

"Jamie Sterry was on the bench and was like 'be confident' so I said 'aye, I'll score here' before I came on, joking on," he said.

"I wish I could do that more often - just say I'm going to score and then actually do it.

"I remember Sean's goal against Burnley last year. When he scored I was next to my dad jumping around thinking 'it must be a great feeling doing it in front of the home fans. It wasn't a full house when I did it but you still get that buzz.

On his future, Longstaff knows a loan like his brother - who went to Kilmarnock and Blackpool - is probably in the pipeline, but for now he's just soaking in the experience of a lifetime.

"I know I'm young, but the biggest thing for me is that I want to be around the Newcastle first team," he said.

"You watch them from you're four or five growing up and you'd love to be there one day, but I'm coming to the age now where I have to prove that I'm good enough to do it.

"I might have to go out on loan and get some experience at some point, but at the minute the biggest thing i to try and get a chance and to just prove I can make an impact.

"I didn't think I'd be where I am now."