Things haven't gone to plan for Matty Longstaff at Newcastle United
This season hasn't exactly gone to plan for Matty Longstaff.
And the midfielder couldn't be happier.
Longstaff thought that he would be spending pre-season with Newcastle United's Under-23s.
The 19-year-old instead travelled to China with the first-team squad for the Premier League Asia Trophy, appearing against both Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Ham United.
And Longstaff – who quickly impressed new head coach Steve Bruce – netted a memorable goal against Saint-Etienne on what his first senior appearance at St James's Park earlier this month.
“I've loved every minute of it, and I can’t thank Steve Bruce and his coaching staff enough," said Longstaff, who could yet be loaned out by the end of the month.
“They've helped me everyday. They've trusted me to go and play. When I have got on, I'm doing enough to stay around the place and remain part of the squad.
"By staying here, even training with the lads everyday will help you improve. These are some of the best players around. If I can learn from them, it'll be great for me.”
Longstaff, who is wanted by a number of Football League clubs, will let Bruce make a decision on his short-term future.
“At the start of pre-season my aim was to get out on loan, but pre-season went well and I've remained in the squad," said Longstaff.
“It was completely different to the way it was mapped out."
Longstaff's elevation to the senior squad has been helped by his elder sibling Sean, who made the step up a year ago.
“It helps having Sean around," said Longstaff.
"You see what he did last year, and you look to try to replicate what he’s done. Having him around is great, but all the other lads have helped me as well. It's been a learning curve for me."
Longstaff, unlike his older brother, is not known for his goalscoring, though he's keen to add more goals to his game.
On his pre-season strike against Saint-Etienne, he said: “The initial reaction was shock, especially to get a chance like that so early.
“It was literally my first touch with a pass from Sean.
"You couldn’t make it up. You don’t get better home debuts."