The former Magpies’ manager admitted that it would be good business for Newcastle should they produce one player similar to the Longstaff brothers each year, as they would be worth £40million every 10 years.
Writing on his personal blog, Benitez revealed that Longstaff was superb when training with the first-team last season, and praised Steve Bruce for making the decision to hand a full Premier League debut to the 19-year-old at St James’ Park.
“I was really pleased to see Matty Longstaff scoring the winning goal for Newcastle; he was great when he was training with us and it was a good decision from Steve Bruce to make him play,” he wrote on his website.
“I was also happy to see a few Geordies playing together at the same time; Carroll, Sean and Matty; surely it shouldn’t be difficult to see the benefits of investing in the Academy? £4m every year for 10 years means £40 m (one player); one ‘Longstaff’ every year for ten years seems good business to me.”
Credit where credit is due, Bruce got everything spot on in the win over Manchester United, and although the decision to start Longstaff was somewhat forced, he could have played it safe by picking Ki Sung-yueng in the heart of midfield. Longstaff more than deserved his spot alongside his brother, Sean, and paid his manager back in the best way by scoring the winner at St James’ Park. The young midfielder played a part in all departments, making a single tackle and a couple of interceptions in the victory as he disrupted the Red Devils all afternoon. On top of that, he also had two shots and completed one key pass [WhoScored] as he filled the box-to-box role perfectly. As seen with his brother, the value of the younger Longstaff will continue to grow should he keep up his form going forward this season – something Benitez clearly expects to happen given what he has seen.