Newcastle United midfielder Matty Longstaff has told The Telegraph that Sunderland were persistent in trying to sign him after he was first snubbed by Newcastle.
Steve Bruce took a major gamble against Manchester United before the international break, as he decided to pair brother Matty and Sean Longstaff in midfield for such a big game.
It turned out to be a masterstroke, as not only did they both impress, but Matty marked his first Premier League start with the only goal of the game, securing all three points.
The 19-year-old has been hailed off the back of that win, and he is surely in line to keep his place ahead of Isaac Hayden for this weekend's game at Chelsea.
Newcastle fans will love having two homegrown talents in the heart of midfield, with both of them lifelong Magpies supporterts – but it all could have been so different for Matty.
Longstaff has told of how he had a Newcastle trial as a youngster, but was rejected by the club, which made him even more driven to come back and make sure he earned a deal with the Magpies in the future.
Longstaff admitted that it was tough to go through, and even claims that Sunderland tried to sign him 'three or four times', but his dad wouldn't let him sign for anyone but Newcastle.
“It was one of the toughest things you can go through as a kid,” said Longstaff. “We have supported Newcastle since we were little. I remember Middlesbrough and Sunderland constantly asking me to join them and my dad saying: ‘He wants to go to Newcastle.’ I finally got the chance to come in and train with them. It was a four-week thing and it was in here and they pulled me and one other kid in here and said: ‘Look, thanks for coming, but we’re not going to keep you.’ I walked out crying. When you look back at it, it probably fired me up to get where I am. It really p***** me off. Looking back, being able to do what I’ve done since then, it all comes from that moment.”
“I went back to North Shields. I remember Sunderland asked me three or four times if I would go and play for them, but no, I wanted to do everything I could to get back to Newcastle. There was only one club that I wanted to play for and thankfully I got back into the set-up. I was about 11 at the time, and I came back and signed for the under-13s. It was pretty quick. I had more of a fire in my belly, I didn’t want to ever be rejected again,” he added.
Newcastle will be delighted that Longstaff is with them rather than their bitter rivals, and his story will go some way to easing fears that he will leave next summer when his contract expires, as Newcastle is clearly his priority.
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