Former Newcastle United player Lee Clark has emphasized how important it is for the club to make sure that Matty Longstaff signs a new deal.
The current Blyth Spartans manager played 217 league games for the club, according to stats from SoccerBase, and he has highlighted the importance of getting local lads playing for the first-team once more.
With the 19-year-old midfielder currently engaged in a ‘deadlock’ with his new contract, the rumour mill has been running in regards to where the player’s future lies.
Within his column for Tribal Football, Clark wrote: “It’s absolutely crucial the club tie down Matty Longstaff to a new contract.
“The club have been crying out for local lads who have come through from the academy, and there is now a manager in place who is prepared to play the youngsters, even above the senior players, and not wait for his hand to be forced through injuries or suspensions.
“The academy is appreciative of that and the young players can see that there will be opportunities given. And the two boys, Sean as well, have come in and are two completely different types of players, but have done terrifically well in their own right.
“And I think it is massive for the club to keep them on board, get them settled and make them part of the future, because good young players are hard to come by, and especially local players.”
Will Matty Longstaff sign a new contract with NUFC?
In a recent Q&A with the Chronicle’s Mark Douglas, the editor went onto say that Longstaff wants to extend his stay at St James’ Park, however, the player and his representatives are some way off from agreeing on a deal which is being suggested by the club.
It is said that the Magpies would prefer a lower base salary with performance and appearance-based incentives, whereas Longstaff and his team would prefer a better base rate.
Given that he is only 19 and will want some kind of assurance that he will get played fairly regularly, you can understand why he could be put off by an appearance-focused contract, as a change in manager could essentially move him way down the pecking order.
It’s hard to argue with Lee Clark, as Longstaff’s situation at the club is as important symbolically as it is on the pitch.
The club have really struggled to get youngsters through into the first-team in recent years, and if Longstaff does make a move on a free, it would send out a huge message to the academy that the youngsters will not get backed if they are good enough. This could cause players in the academy to steer away from the club as they might not see it as a place where its youngsters have the full backing. And it would be hard to argue against that if he was to leave.