Steve Bruce has a message for Sean and Matty Longstaff at Newcastle United
Sean Longstaff, in talks over a new deal at the club, hasn’t featured since last month’s defeat to Sheffield United, while Matty, his younger sibling, has only made a handful of appearances since signing a new deal last summer.
Bruce fielded Jonjo Shelvey, Isaac Hayden and Jeff Hendrick in midfield against Everton on Saturday.
And United's head coach has hinted that he will name an unchanged midfield for tomorrow night’s Premier League home game against Crystal Palace following his team's 2-0 win at Goodison Park.
The victory ended a run of 11 games without a win in all competitions.
Asked about the development of Sean and Matty at Newcastle, Bruce said: “They’re on the right path.
"Of course, I’m sure they would both like to play more regularly. But, obviously, the way the midfield played at the weekend, they got to wait a bit more. And, it’s like I’ve said many, many times, when they get the opportunity, they’ve got to grasp it and play well.
"At the end of the day, the team picks itself on performances. At the moment, they’re not in the team. They’ve got to keep working and bashing away to get into the team, and when they get their chance, take it.
"It’s been difficult for them two, and it’s been difficult for everybody over the last couple of months, performance-wise. They’ve got to keep doing the basics – they’re very, very young – and keep bashing away at it."
Matty, 20, was linked with a loan move to Championship club Watford in the January transfer window.
However, Bruce told BBC Radio Newcastle: “I haven’t heard anything at all from Watford in that respect. One thing I don’t want to do is dismantle my squad, because there’s still another three months of the season.”
The 20-year-old, under contract until 2022, has played 377 minutes of Premier League football this season.
Meanwhile, Newcastle are 16th in the Premier League – and eight points above the relegation zone – ahead of the Palace game.