Former Newcastle United player Malcolm MacDonald has criticised Steve Bruce for the way he has managed the young players at the club, particularly Matthew Longstaff.
The 21-year-old burst onto the scene somewhat back in 2019 when he scored the winning goal against Manchester United on his Premier League debut and followed that up by scoring against them again in just his fourth Premier League game.
Since then though, he hasn’t been able to kick on much under Newcastle boss Steve Bruce, making just five appearances throughout the entire of the 2020/21 campaign.
And speaking about the issue on NUFC Matters, MacDonald slammed Bruce for the way he has handled the club’s youth setup by not giving many youngsters a chance, citing the lack of action seen by Longstaff as an example:
“Nobody’s sort of emerging through, and that isn’t a good record. When you look around the Premiership, there are youngsters coming through in a lot of sides being given an opportunity, being given a chance – and Newcastle, who don’t seem to be prepared to give them that chance.
“And plus I have to criticise Steve Bruce, because I think that the way in which he handled the whole of last season with Matty Longstaff, I think is absolutely disgraceful.”
TIF Thoughts on Malcolm MacDonald’s comments about Steve Bruce and the young players at Newcastle United…
What should Newcastle do with Matty Longstaff this summer?
Keep him in the squad for next season
Loan him out
The thing is, Bruce wasn’t really in a position for most of last season to be able to play him and experiment with bringing younger players through in general because of the threat of relegation that was hanging over him and the club.
And even after safety was confirmed, the task would probably have been to finish the season strong to finish as high up the table as possible to gain some extra money, so Bruce wasn’t really given the opportunity to experiment or develop players because he was too busy focusing on the present.
Hopefully that will change next season and Newcastle can be more comfortable in the table to allow them to change things up a bit. But for as long as Premier League safety is the priority, then young players like Longstaff won’t be.