Newcastle United can have very few complaints about how their season has gone so far.
Yes, the football has been drab at the best of times, and the club aren’t challenging for a European spot, but after picking up 11 points from their first eight league games, the Magpies again look like maintaining their Premier League status for another season.
However, one thing that has been slightly disconcerting is the lack of chances the club’s young players have been getting, namely, Matty Longstaff.
The midfielder missed the early part of the season due to injury, but he’s been available since mid-October, and despite Newcastle playing four games since then, he’s only appeared for 29 minutes.
Longstaff is undoubtedly a talented young player, being compared to former Champions League-winning midfielder Paul Scholes last year, but Bruce is mishandling him at the moment.
It’s not one we can really blame Bruce for. Newcastle need to go into every game with their strongest possible squad and with a number of more proven midfielders ahead of Longstaff in the pecking order, we can understand why he isn’t a consistent starter.
However, the higher-ups at St James’ Park worked so hard last year to ensure that the youngster signed a new contract at the club, but now it doesn’t seem as though they’re going to allow him to flourish.
The 20-year-old is getting to the point in his career where he needs to be playing consistent senior football, and if he’s not getting it on Tyneside, perhaps they should loan him out.
This would allow Longstaff to pick up experience in the men’s game, which is something he’s desperate for at this point in his career.
We can understand if Bruce doesn’t want to risk playing a 20-year-old in the heart of midfield when every game is must win, but if you’re not going to play him, at least give him the chance to spread his wings out on loan.
The manager needs to do right by Longstaff by offering him a loan exit.