Steve Bruce is ready to hand Matty Longstaff the chance to follow in his older brother’s footsteps just weeks after fearing the 19-year-old might “burst” the first time he saw him on the training pitch.
The midfielder, whose brother Sean, 21, was the subject of a big-money offer from Manchester United this summer, could be handed a competitive debut for the Magpies in Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup second-round clash with Leicester.
Like Sean, Matty has emerged from the ranks largely unheralded, with new head coach Bruce admitting he knew little about him before the club’s pre-season trip to China.
The 58-year-old said: “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 all right?’.
“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 boundless enthusiasm. We’ve seen a little bit of him – he scored that great goal against St Etienne when he came on.
“He’s impressed me enormously over the last four or 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 Longstaff brothers, whose father David won more than 100 caps for Great Britain’s ice hockey team, have grown up in a sporting environment and Bruce, who played alongside Gary and Phil Neville at Manchester United, is reaping the rewards of that now.
He said: “I’m sure there must have been a competition between them all their life, the way they are. They are both hugely competitive and it’s quite unique.
“We’ve got brothers and the pair of them could be playing. Fantastic.”
Asked if the younger Longstaff is ready for the first-team stage, Bruce said: “I think he is ready. He’s good enough.
“He’s bright, he’s tenacious, can score a goal – he’s got all the stuff you need to succeed. He’s got a huge desire to do well, like his brother.”
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