Matty Longstaff is set to make his competitive debut for Newcastle against Leicester in the second round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, having impressed manager Steve Bruce since his appointment earlier in the summer.
The 19-year-old defensive midfielder enjoyed a breakthrough summer for the Magpies, featuring against West Ham in the Premier League Asia Trophy in China before being involved in all three of Newcastle’s remaining friendlies back in the UK.
While Longstaff has yet to be included in a Premier League match day squad this season, his impressive form over the summer, which included scoring a stunning long-range goal against Saint Etienne, means Bruce is keen to get Longstaff involved on Wednesday.
Speaking ahead of the game, Bruce jokingly recalled his thoughts when he first saw Longstaff, stating as quoted by the Chronicle: “I didn't know anything about him four weeks ago, to be honest. I saw this bright red face running around in China - I thought it was going to burst! I thought, 'Is he alright?' He's the way I went when you're red like that in the heat! The two of them absolutely have to have factor 50 on.
"We've seen a little bit of him - scored that great goal against Saint-Etienne when he came on. He's impressed me enormously over the last four, five weeks. He's been training with us all the time so I think it could be a good time to give him his debut.
“He's bright, he's tenacious, can score a goal - he's got all the stuff you need to succeed. He's got a huge desire to do well like his brother.
"His brother's running statistics on Saturday were enormous - absolutely enormous. I'll just remind of him of that, what he's got to live up to!"
Whilst a couple of clubs had enquired about taking Matty on loan, Bruce was eager to keep him, with the midfielder now potentially set to play alongside brother Sean, who made his Newcastle debut this time last year and was then linked with a move to Manchester United in the summer.