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Newcastle's Bruce praises teenager Longstaff, hints at Chelsea start

Newcastle's Bruce praises teenager Longstaff, hints at Chelsea start
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Newcastle United v Manchester United - St James' Park, Newcastle, Britain - October 6, 2019 Newcastle United's Matthew Longstaff celebrates scoring their first goal Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith -
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(Reuters) – Newcastle United teenager Matthew Longstaff has livened up the dressing room with his refreshing personality after a sparkling Premier League debut against Manchester United, manager Steve Bruce said on Friday.

Newcastle are in 16th place in the Premier League with just eight points from eight games but have momentum on their side after an upset win over Manchester United, courtesy of academy graduate Longstaff’s winning goal.

“He’s been like a kid in a sweet shop. He brought a refreshing humility to us all again,” Bruce told a news conference.

“I don’t think I’ve witnessed as good a debut – not just because he scored a goal, although that caps it off – but it was the way he played in the whole game. It was terrific.

“Our role now is to help him, protect him and nurture him along the way. He’s got a big, big future ahead of him and what a great start. He’s going to handle what comes his way now, so hopefully we can help him in that respect.”

With Newcastle facing fifth-placed Chelsea on Saturday, Bruce indicated the 19-year-old Longstaff could get another opportunity to impress at Stamford Bridge.

“From day one he’s been knocking on the door and it’s always been a case of, ‘when do I put him in?… How could I leave him out (against Chelsea)?” he added.

Bruce is hopeful that the club will do everything to secure the long-term future of Longstaff as well as his 21-year-old brother Sean, who was linked with a move to Manchester United in the close season.

“That’s going to be above me but one thing you don’t want to do is to lose your best players, so I am sure we will be all out to get that tied up – and his brother (Sean) – which is vitally important,” the manager said.

“There are one or two in discussions with the club at the minute, so I’m sure we’ll move that along in the next week or two.”

Bruce confirmed winger Matt Ritchie (foot) and defender Florian Lejeune (knee) are the only ones sidelined due to injuries.

(Reporting by Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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