Our new manager Eddie Howe has been talking about his squad this week, and it’s still refreshing to hear, especially after two years of the utter shite that was spewed from his predecessor. Eddie has been addressing many topics, from our chances of staying up, to Joelinton (who ever doubted him eh?) and one other topic, the topic of Matty Longstaff.
For anyone who wasn’t aware, Matty has been enjoying a season long loan up in Aberdeen, under the watchful eye of one time Toon winger Stephen Glass. Well, I say enjoying, it’s not really been that for our young flame haired midfield dynamo has it? I watched Matty’s debut against Ross county, and covered it in a piece for True faith back in August, and although Matty was undoubtedly rusty, he showed glimpses of what he was all about. Comfortable on the ball, an eye for a pass, and even confident to get a shot off at the opposition goalkeeper, this loan should have been a match made in heaven, but it’s turned in to hell for young Matty.
Since then Matty has only featured in 11 out of 13 match day squads, getting into the starting 11 only 3 times, coming on as a sub twice, and being completely left out of the squad twice. It’s not exactly the move we’d all hoped for when Matty took the high road, we hoped he’d have had a similar successful spell north of the border that big brother Sean had at Kilmarnock back in 2017, but it’s not worked out the same for Matty so far.
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This has caught the attention of our new manager, and when asked about Matty he said the following:
“Matty Longstaff’s situation I am aware of. I think I would encourage a conversation between Matty to see what his thought processes are.” And then we will evaluate that one closer to January.”
So it would appear that Eddie is concerned Matty isn’t getting the game time he should to help further his development, a concern I’m sure that is shared by loan manager, and mackem slayer Shola Ameobi. The Aberdeen manager however, well he couldn’t resist a little dig at the young North Shields lad. When asked about Matty, Glass responded with:
“That’s not a decision that we take,”
“He’s here on loan. There’s a parent club, and there’s us, and there’s discussions that have to happen.”
“I think, clearly, Matty would’ve liked more game time, clearly we would’ve liked better performances.”
“But there’s a lot of games coming in December, with a lot of opportunities for a good number of our players, and Matty comes under that umbrella.”
Ouch! A tongue as sharp as his name there! It certainly seems that Matty isn’t doing it for Glass, or Aberdeen at the minute. I’ve often flicked through Twitter to gauge dons fans’ reactions towards our young midfielder, and it hasn’t made for good reading I can tell you. So, where do we go from here? Does Eddie bring Matty back to Newcastle? Could he help add something to the squad? Or is he just not good enough, like so many others in this mediocre Newcastle squad?
I do think there’s a very good player in there, and at 21, his best years lay ahead of him for sure. He may very well be a victim of Aberdeen’s precarious league position, much like some other talented youngsters the Dons have on loan, they have been side-lined for more senior, roll up your sleeve type players in the shape of Scott Brown and Lewis Ferguson.
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Those two can provide a bit more bite & fight in the middle of the park, whereas Matty wants to get on the ball & try and make things happen, that’s not necessarily what his manager is looking for right now at Aberdeen, and potentially he can’t take the risk either, with the pressure mounting on his job, but his new Newcastle manager on the other hand? He most definitely values that in a player, and could see Matty’s attributes as a real asset to get back in the squad.
So perhaps we could see Matty’s loan cut short, and he could return to St James Park, and under this manager, who’s even got a tune out of Joelinton! Could he get back to that exciting young player who burst onto the scene against Manchester United. Lord knows we could do with someone like that in midfield right now. We’ll soon find out what the future holds for Matty over the next few weeks, as the January window draws nearer.
Would you get him back in January? Let us know in the comments below.
Chris Currie – @wig82