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Matty Longstaff 'close to penning Newcastle contract'

Matty Longstaff 'close to penning Newcastle contract'
© Reuters
The youngster scored the winner against Manchester United on his Premier League debut.

Midfielder Matty Longstaff travelled to the club's pre-season training base on Friday after all but finalising a new deal to stay at his home-town club.

The 20-year-old, the younger brother of team-mate Sean, had been linked with Udinese, Leeds and Brighton after contract talks stalled last season, leaving head coach Steve Bruce anxiously awaiting developments.

But now he appears to have committed his future to the Magpies and joined up with the rest of the squad in York.

Matty Longstaff (left) and older brother Sean are both on the books at Newcastle
Matty Longstaff (left) and older brother Sean are both on the books at Newcastle (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Bruce told Sky Sports: "I'm delighted, and I was always quietly confident. I just think there have been too many people in the kid's ear and of course he's had his head turned and it affected him.

"But underneath it all, always knew that he's a Geordie and he wants to play for his home-town club, so I always knew we had that up our sleeve, it would be a big wrench for him to leave.

"He knows what I think of him as a player – let's be fair, it was myself who put him in the team. I'm delighted he's virtually committed – we should be over the line in the next 24, 48 hours.

"I'm delighted to see that he's part of the team because we don't want to lose our good young players."

Longstaff announced himself in style last season when he emerged from the Academy to score the winner against Manchester United at St James' Park on his Premier League debut in October last year.

However, he made only three appearances as a substitute after the return from lockdown as negotiations rumbled on.

The youngster is likely to find himself competing with former Burnley midfielder Jeff Hendrick for a place in Bruce's plans next season with the Republic of Ireland international close to completing a free transfer to the Tyneside outfit.

Bruce said: "I can confirm that it's practically a done deal, so we hope Jeff can join us certainly just over the weekend. There are one or two little tiny things to tie up, but the vast majority of it is done and I'm delighted to get him on board.

Republic of Ireland midfielder Jeff Hendrick is close to joining Newcastle
Republic of Ireland midfielder Jeff Hendrick is close to joining Newcastle (Simon Cooper/PA)

"He's an experienced international footballer and to come on a Bosman, I think he'll be a really, really good signing for us.

"He's played something like 122 games for Burnley over the last four years. He can play in two, three, four positions, so we're delighted we've got him. He'll be a really good addition to the squad."

With no takeover in sight and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic biting hard, Bruce is working with a reduced transfer kitty of between £25million and £30million, but insists he has the full backing of owner Mike Ashley as he attempts to strengthen a squad weakened by the loss of loan signings of Danny Rose, Nabil Bentaleb and Valentino Lazaro.

He said: "We've got the full backing of the owner to carry on and we'll just get on with the job at hand. I'm still here and I'll try my best to keep making sure that we go forward."

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