Rising star Matty Longstaff set for Newcastle United debut as Steve Bruce prepares to shuffle his pack for Carabao Cup
Brendan Rodgers’ side head to Tyneside this evening for the only all Premier League clash in round two of the competition – and both managers are likely to field ‘second choice’ starting XIs.
One beneficiary of that is likely to be Longstaff, younger brother of £50m-rated Sean Longstaff, following an impressive pre-season.
When asked about how many changes he is considering from the side that beat Spurs on Sunday, Bruce said: “I'll make at least four or five I would think.
“I've got to see how Jamaal is. Fabian Schar has got a nasty cut on his ankle, too. Jamaal (Lascelles) came off. I can't see (Christian) Atsu being able to go again. What he did was heroic because I never expected him to be on the pitch for the best part of 80 minutes. He's been a concern so I would think there is going to be four or five but, then again, I've got some experienced players who did not even make the squad.
“Ki didn't make the squad, for example, and at this particular moment, I'm seriously thinking about giving young Longstaff his debut. He's impressed me greatly.”
On the 19-year-old, Bruce continued: “I didn't know anything about him until four weeks ago, to be honest. I saw this bright red face running around China - I thought it was going to burst!
“I thought, 'Is he alright?' He's the way I went when you're red like that in the heat! The two of them absolutely have to have factor 50 on. He's got bounds of enthusiasm.
“He's impressed me enormously over the last four, five weeks. He's been training with us all the time so I think it could be a good time to give him his debut.”
The Longstaffs could become the first brotherly pairing in black and white since Shola Ameobi and Sammy Ameobi – but Bruce has hinted the younger of the pair could well replace his sibling.
When asked about a Matty for Sean swap, Bruce said: “Possibly.”