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Loan star Matty Longstaff aims to end Aberdeen’s trophy pain

Newcastle United midfielder Matty Longstaff made his Aberdeen debut against Ross County.
Newcastle United midfielder Matty Longstaff made his Aberdeen debut against Ross County.

Newcastle United loan star Matty Longstaff is determined to end Aberdeen’s silverware drought by lifting the last remaining domestic cup this season.

England U20 international Longstaff arrived on a season-long loan deal after the Reds had already exited two cup competitions.

Aberdeen crashed out of the League Gup at lower league Raith Rovers and lost to Qarabag in the bid to reach the Europa Conference League group stages.

The only knock-out tournament remaining is the Scottish Cup and the midfielder aims to bring the quality, and goals, to end a 32-year wait for the famous trophy.

Longstaff, who made a starting debut in the 1-1 draw with Ross County, said: “I spoke to the manager (Stephen Glass) and Scotty (Brown) about silverware and about doing well in the cup, which is going to be a big thing for us.

“I’m looking forward to it.

“Hopefully I can add a bit of quality on the ball and a bit of energy.

“I didn’t get as many chances against Ross County, but playing in a higher role, I’ll break into the box a bit more and try score a few goals.

“I’m here to help the team out and hopefully, game by game, I can keep improving.”

Aberdeen’s final tilt at cup silverware does not begin until the Scottish Cup fourth round on Saturday January 24.

Newcastle United’s message to Longstaff

Longstaff, 21, has been reassured he has a future at St James’ Park and is so highly rated at Newcastle United he signed a one-year contract extension until summer 2023 on the eve of completing his move to the Granite City.

Although the ultimate aim of the  loan is to secure regular football to propel himself back into the starting line-up at Newcastle, the midfielder refuses to be sidetracked by what lies ahead in the future at his parent club.

All focus is helping Aberdeen’s Premiership campaign and the last remaining bid for cup glory.

He said: “The message from Newcastle is to come up here and hopefully get games and just see what happens.

“I’ve just got to take it week by week.

“I’m here now so my concentration is fully on Aberdeen and finishing as high up the table as possible.

“I’m aiming to win games here and whatever the future holds, it’ll hold.”

Sensational English top-flight debut

A product of the Newcastle United Youth Academy, Longstaff made a sensational breakthrough when scoring the only goal in a 1-0 defeat of Manchester United on his Premier League debut in October 2019 when just 19 years old.

Later that season he would yet again net against Manchester United – although the Magpies would lose that game 4-1 at Old Trafford.

Last season Longstaff started Premier League matches against big hitters Manchester City, Liverpool, Leicester City and Arsenal.

Longstaff was sold on a loan move to Aberdeen after talks with manager Stephen Glass, team captain Scott Brown and Newcastle and Scotland winger Ryan Fraser.

A product of the Pittodrie youth system, Aberdonian Fraser made 23 appearances for the Dons before moving to Bournemouth in January 2013.

No surprise with pace of Scottish game

Longstaff was disappointed not to make a winning debut, but insists the fast pace of the Scottish Premiership came as no surprise – especially after regular journeys north of the border in 2017 to watch older brother Sean on loan at Kilmarnock.

Midfielder Sean, 23, is a regular starter for Newcastle.

Longstaff said: “It definitely wasn’t a surprise that the (Ross County) game was so fast.

“I used to drive up all the time and watch Sean.

“I knew what it was going to be like coming into the game.

“I guess it was quite helter-skelter.

“Coming into the game, I’d also spoken to the gaffer and Scott [Brown] about what it would be like and they said it would be a million miles an hour.

“It didn’t disappoint.”

On-loan midfielder Matty Longstaff in action for parent club Newcastle United.

The reasons for choosing Aberdeen loan

Aberdeen beat competition from Sheffield United and Blackpool to land the midfielder on loan until the end of the season.

A combination of the lure of working with Glass, a former Newcastle player, and the competitive nature of the Scottish top-flight combined to sell a move to Pittodrie.

He said: “I spoke with the manager and the assistants here and, after speaking to them, I just couldn’t wait to get up the road.

“They told me about the style of play that they have and how they try to dominate the ball.

“It’s similar to Newcastle in being a one-club city, which is also a big thing.

“The Scottish Premiership has good quality, because if you look now, there’s a lot of good teams in it and it’s a good standard.

“I watched Aberdeen a couple of times when my brother played and watched quite a bit on the television.”

Frustration at Aberdeen debut result

Aberdeen have been highly proactive in the transfer market recently with four signings secured within the last week.

Joining Longstaff at Pittodrie was Wolves striker Austin Samuels, who arrived on a season-long loan.

Aberdeen’s Marley Watkins warms up pre-match against Ross County.

Permanent deals for free agent Marley Watkins (until summer 2023) and Hamburg defender David Bates (until summer 2024) were also secured.

Longstaff and Samuels both made starting debuts in the draw with Ross County whilst Watkins, who had been on loan at Pittodrie last season, came off the bench.

Aberdeen’s new signing David Bates with Ryan Hedges before the 1-1 draw with Ross County. Hedges is out injured.

Scotland international Bates watched from the sidelines as Aberdeen awaited his international clearance.

Longstaff was frustrated he did not make a winning debut.

He said: “It’s disappointing to get that result, but it was good to get in front of the fans.

“It was nice to get out in front of fans, who were loud, which is what you want.

“It was a great welcome and I thought I did alright. I know I can be better than that.”

This article originally appeared on the Evening Express website. For more information, read about our new combined website.