Newcastle United and Steve Bruce will not be sweating it out after Sean Longstaff voiced his discontent in the boss’ decision to axe brother Matty against West Ham.
A few weeks ago, the Longstaff brothers were dominating the headlines after Matty made his Premier League debut with a match-winning effort at home to Manchester United, on a day Bruce partnered the pair together in the centre of midfield.
Bruce could not replicate the partnership for our trip to East London last month, though, as Sean had been issued a straight red card in our previous Premier League fixture at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The £16.2million-rated midfielder’s suspension ensured he could not feature in the win at the London Stadium or our subsequent top-flight meeting with AFC Bournemouth, and Longstaff will remain at home watching on TV when we travel to Aston Villa on Monday night.
His suspension coincided with a return for Isaac Hayden following the Arsenal product’s red card issued in the 5-0 loss to Leicester City, but rather than swapping one for one, Bruce opted to also recall Jonjo Shelvey at West Ham in place of Matty.
The decision did not sit well with Sean at the time and he has now spoken on the matter, while noting that regaining his place in the side will be a challenge after the club took back-to-back wins in his absence.
“That’s football, isn’t it?” Longstaff said, via quotes by the Chronicle. “Things aren’t going to go your way all the time. From my point of view, I knew I wasn’t going to play [against West Ham], but I thought Matty would.
“When he got left out, I was obviously really disappointed for him, but the manager made a decision and Jonjo came in and scored and Isaac came in and did really well. It’s a squad game at the end of the day and we’re going to need everyone.
“We’ll look to push up the table, which everyone in the dressing room thinks we can. It’s disappointing not to be playing, but you are a team, and the only way you’re going to be successful is with everyone doing their bit.
“Hopefully, for me, this is my little break from the team, and when I come back, I can get back in as soon as possible and get back to where I was.”
Who should be Bruce's midfield pairing vs Villa?
M. Longstaff & Hayden
Hayden & Shelvey
M. Longstaff & Shelvey
Bruce and the board will not be sweating over Longstaff’s comments, as the club were able to take successive wins in the top-flight following the boss’ call to rotate his midfield options.
Longstaff adding that Hayden and Shelvey’s performances helped towards the favourable results ought to be looked on favourably, as well, as he is showing a strong level of maturity in accepting that others may sometimes play but that does not mean he is now surplus to requirements.
Longstaff will get his chance back in the side at some stage once he is available again, and showing that he can take the benefits from his current situation will ensure that he becomes a mainstay in the future.