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Matty Longstaff enjoying fresh start with Toronto FC after difficult spell

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 10 Apr 2024

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Matty Longstaff is enjoying a fresh start with Toronto FC having gone from the highest of highs with boyhood club Newcastle to dealing with injuries, frustration and the business side of the beautiful game.

If you were writing a script for a young Geordie, then scoring the winner against Manchester United on your Premier League debut at a packed St James’ Park would be the dream.

Better still, teenager Longstaff did that playing alongside his older brother and appeared set to follow Sean in establishing himself as a Newcastle regular.

The midfielder made 15 appearances during the 2019-20 campaign and scored at Old Trafford, but things ultimately did not go to plan for a midfielder starting anew in Major League Soccer with Toronto.

“You probably don’t realise how special it is until down the line, you realise how difficult it was to actually go and do that,” Longstaff told the PA news agency.

“When I came through, I didn’t have any lows. Broke through, scored on my debut against Man United, played that season, felt like I’d done well, obviously scored at Old Trafford.

“Everything just kind of seemed to roll on. You don’t really think about anything – you just play, play, play.

“Then certain things come up and suddenly you’d start to stall. It gets a bit tougher and then you realise that it’s a business and it’s not what you think it is. As bad as it sounds, it’s a business at the end of the day.

“Obviously I was there and then you’re gone and you have to accept it because ultimately, players are going to come and go.

“When I’m 19 breaking through, you just think ‘I’ll play here and this will be me for my career’ but then in about six or seven months, you soon realise that it’s completely different and you never know what’s going to happen.”

Longstaff’s breakthrough attracted interest from Germany, the Netherlands and Italy, including a lucrative offer from Udinese, but he was always “praying” for a new deal where his “heart lay”.

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