Steve Bruce sidesteps contract question after praising Newcastle United player

Steve Bruce has praised Sean Longstaff for his form amid speculation linking Rafa Benitez with a move for the Newcastle United midfielder.

Longstaff – who has handed his debut by Benitez during his time at St James’s Park – has started the winless club’s last three Premier League games.

And Bruce – who will be without injured midfielders Joe Willock and Jonjo Shelvey for tomorrow’s game against Watford at Vicarage Road – was impressed with his performance in last week’s 2-2 home draw against Leeds United.

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“I think Sean Longstaff’s played as well as I’ve seen him (play),” said Bruce, who recalled Longstaff to his team in the final two months of last season, having left him out in the wake of January’s defeat to Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

Bruce, however, wouldn’t be drawn on long-running contract talks with the 23-year-old, who is in the final year of the four-year deal he signed in late 2018 before he made his competitive first-team Newcastle debut.

Benitez, now in charge of Everton, has been linked with a move for Longstaff, whose younger brother Matty was last month loaned to Scottish Premiership club Aberdeen.

"There's nothing I can do with anybody that gets linked,” said head coach Bruce. "Sean’s playing very well at the moment. I have been very, very pleased with him.

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"So as far as I’m aware, the contract details ... that’s for other people to sort out, not me.

Sean Longstaff takes a drink before the Leeds United game.Sean Longstaff takes a drink before the Leeds United game.
Sean Longstaff takes a drink before the Leeds United game.

"But he’s playing very well, which is important for Sean."

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