With Matty Longstaff making a successful step up to the first team in the Toon Army’s last outing, there’s a real clamouring for more homegrown talent to make a breakthrough, and Bruce has been quick to pick out Joe White and Bobby Clark, son of Lee Clark, as ones to watch.
As quoted by the Shields Gazette, he said: “I wouldn’t want to bring out individuals, but we’ve got a young lad from Carlisle [White] who people think a lot of, and Clarkie’s boy is supposed to be a very, very good player.
“I think it’s vitally important for a club like this – getting one of their own is always a bit special. We’ve got one or two others, but they’ve still got to take the next step.”
If we’re being honest, this feels like a bit of a catch 22 for the Toon Army. On the one hand, good young talent coming through the ranks in the manner that the Longstaff brothers have in recents times is always going to be a positive. On the other, the last thing you need to give Mike Ashley is another reason to keep his chequebook in his pocket. The ideal situation is, of course, a balance between the two means of bringing in new talent, and the Magpies should certainly be inspired by the advent of the Longstaffs. Taking Matty as an example, his Premier League debut against Manchester United was something special, and his Whoscored rating of 8.05 is higher than Kevin De Bruyne’s average for the season. A couple more like that, and the Toon would be buzzing.