Midfield star Matty Longstaff has signed a new two-year deal at Newcastle to end speculation about his future at St James’ Park.
The 20-year-old burst on the scene last season when scoring the winning goal against Manchester United on his Premier League debut.
He made 15 appearances during the 2019/20 campaign and became an instant hit with the Toon Army.
But with his current contract ending, several clubs had been put on alert. They included Premier League rivals Brighton and Leeds and Italian side Udinese.
Longstaff’s form tailed off from that October high against Manchester United but boss Steve Bruce now thinks the Newcastle fans will see the best of him again.
Bruce said: “It’s great to see a young local lad from North Shields staying with his boyhood club.
“It’s taken a while, but patience is a virtue and I’ve always said that I was quietly confident.
“We never want to lose our good young players and it’s an important time for Matty now.
“I do believe the speculation affected him, so let’s hope we get to see the real Matty, the one who burst onto the scene before last Christmas.
“Let’s see him come and perform to the level which we hope he can maintain.”
Longstaff, whose brother Sean is a key member of the Newcastle starting XI, is now raring to go.
The England Under-20 international said: “I’m delighted to have signed.
“It took a bit longer than I’d hoped but I’m really happy it’s done now. I can’t wait to get back to playing at a full St James’ Park hopefully soon.”
Youngster will hope to recapture October high
Longstaff’s strike from the edge of the box against Manchester United earned him Match of the Day’s goal of the month. It polled 22% of the October vote.
Only 19 at the time, he was still a teenager when also netting in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford.
That gave Newcastle an early lead but they were overpowered by the hosts and lost 4-1.
Longstaff made it three goals in a seven-game spell when firing home the second in a 4-1 FA Cup win over Rochdale.
Since that mid-January fixture, he hasn’t added to his tally. Part of that was losing his place in the first team. Longstaff made just seven appearances after that and only four in the Premier League.
However, Bruce clearly views him as one of the club’s brightest long-term prospects and will hope the midfield man can step it up next season.