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Opinion

Strange claims as to why Matty Longstaff will be left out of Newcastle United team v Chelsea

1 month ago
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Matty Longstaff made quite an impression on his (league) debut.

The 19 year old making his Premier League bow with Newcastle sitting in the relegation zone, no pressure..

Pretty much all of the boxes ticked.

Man of the match – ticked.

Score a cracking goal – ticked.

Win the match – ticked.

Do it against ‘name’ opposition – ticked.

Matty Longstaff has had a long two weeks to enjoy and soak up what happened on Sunday 6 October and is no doubt itching for this Saturday to come around.

However, many in the media and also a sizeable number of Newcastle fans, are saying that the best plan would be to drop the midfielder down to the bench, along with claims that Steve Bruce could be considering the same.

The reasoning for this is that it would be ‘protecting’ this promising young player.

Now I understand the concept of looking after promising young players and I am all for it, however, there is a risk of overthinking things a little bit too much here.

Matty Longstaff has played one Premier League game, couldn’t have really done any better than he did, his confidence will be soaring, so why on earth would anybody think that after 90 minutes in the top tier, he should be left out?

Yes you shouldn’t overplay young players and at some point it is sensible to take them out of the firing line but not after one game, when they have excelled.

The midfielder needs to be given his head and the opportunity to carry that adrenaline rush into Saturday at Stamford Bridge, then once again the following weekend at home to Wolves.

The simple truth as well is that Newcastle don’t have a suitable alternative at the moment.

Jonjo Shelvey and Ki Sung-yeung have offered absolutely nothing so far this season and aren’t capable anyway of giving the same kind of energy packed display that Matty Longstaff gave against Manchester United. He ran further than any other Newcastle player as he harried and helped unsettle Man Utd, which Ki and/or Shelvey couldn’t have matched, never mind getting up the pitch and produce that cracking finish in the later stages of the game (and supply the only other serious attempt on goal, when Matty Longstaff hit the bar from distance).

Circumstances have also dictated that Matty Longstaff has the perfect window of opportunity.

Isaac Hayden’s suspension for three games has given an ideal number of matches, in my opinion, for Matty Longstaff to throw everything at. These three games probably just about right before possibly then bringing Hayden back in and giving the 19 year old that chance to take stock.

The fact is as well is that then from late November into early January, Newcastle will have 10 games in less than six weeks, so Steve Bruce will almost certainly need at times to mix it up in the middle of the pitch to help protect players from injury.

In January this year it was Sean Longstaff who made his first ever Premier League away start (indeed first PL start of any kind) at Stamford Bridge, in a game where Newcastle deserved a point as a minimum, only to lose 2-1. The older Longstaff brother excellent as he kicked off a very good partnership with Isaac Hayden.

There is a need to protect Matty Longstaff from himself to ensure longer-term returns but that need to do so comes at some beyond well beyond this Saturday.

Newcastle United need as much pace, mobility and enthusiasm as possible on Saturday, as well as ambition to have a go at goal.

Matty Longstaff needs to be on the pitch to contribute to that.

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