Former England international Jamie Redknapp isn’t buying Newcastle United midfielder Matty Longstaff’s claim that his goal against Manchester United was a ‘hit and hope’.
The 19-year-old came in for his Premier League debut against the Red Devils on Sunday and proceeded to smash home the game’s only goal to give the Magpies three crucial points.
Redknapp was very impressed: “The interview with Newcastle’s 19-year-old match-winner Matty Longstaff and his big brother Sean on Sky Sports was brilliant. These are two talented footballers but both are so modest,” he wrote in his Daily Mail column.
“Matty insisted his strike was a ‘hit and hope’ but I’m not buying that. He knew what he was doing. He let the ball go across his body, waited for the right moment, hit his shot pure and it sealed a super win over Manchester United. It repaid Steve Bruce’s faith in him.”
As Redknapp explains, it certainly didn’t look like Longstaff’s effort was a simple hit and hope affair. The youngster roved forward into the perfect position on the edge of the box and then decided to let the ball roll across his body rather than take a touch first. By doing that he allowed himself to have a straight hit at the ball, which he duly powered past the despairing David De Gea. It was a tremendous effort and a fabulous moment for the young man, his brother Sean and the entire Longstaff family. But Longstaff’s entire performance was sensational on Sunday. The statistics show that he was just about everywhere against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side. As per WhoScored.com, the teenager had two shots, one on target – which was the goal, of course – and one key pass. Meanwhile, he knocked seven long balls forward, with five of them finding their man. Defensively, too, he was excellent. He made a tackle and two interceptions in a terrific all-round display.