Steve Bruce took the decision to limit the midfielder’s playing time after he returned to action following a serious injury that ended his season in the previous campaign after his breakthrough.
The Magpies’ boss insisted to the Chronicle that the midfield starlet reacted in all the right ways to being benched even if he didn’t enjoy being dropped from the side.
“There’s times when you just have to protect him but, certainly, the one thing I enjoyed about him was he didn’t enjoy being on the bench,” Bruce said.
“He certainly reacted in the right way.”
Longstaff is still a young player and making his way in the game, all he will have in mind is to continue starting games for Newcastle. Bruce is also in the right and will want to manage the youngster so he is fully fit and ready to tackle an entire Premier League campaign without injury, unlike last season. The 21-year-old will want to replicate his form from last season before the injury but has struggled to consistently perform under new boss, Bruce. Longstaff has been deployed in a midfield three that has a lot of pressure to produce going forward given the isolation of a forward two. Defensively, Longstaff has been solid – averaging 1.5 tackles per game whilst only getting dribbled past on average once every two games, according to WhoScored. The youngster has struggled with the offensive burden, averaging 0.5 key passes per game with a pass success rate of only 77.8% – something he will want to improve. Longstaff appears to realise that missing the majority of certain games is still all part of his rehabilitation as he looks to fully recover from his first major injury.