Sean Longstaff betrayed Steve Bruce with a shocking performance in Newcastle United’s 2-1 defeat at home to Leicester City on Sunday.
Bruce recalled the 23-year-old to the Magpies’ starting line-up in place of the suspended Isaac Hayden, opting to favour the academy graduate beside his brother Matty, with Jonjo Shelvey initially seated on the bench.
However, the Longstaff brothers failed to take control of proceedings in the engine room, with neither man able to apply enough pressure to Brendan Rodgers’ visiting Foxes as Wilfred Ndidi and Youri Tielemans dictated the pace without breaking a sweat.
Matty Longstaff at least brought a boisterous presence to the side as he ran himself into the ground to track back and chase any loose balls, but the same could not be said for his sibling, who found himself overrun time and time again.
Bruce saw enough from his laboursome unit to introduce changes midway through the second half with Shelvey brought on for on-the-day left-midfielder Joelinton, in a decision the Toon chief may soon have regretted when Tielemans doubled Leicester’s advantage.
Andy Carroll would score his first goal for Newcastle since 2010 to offer Bruce’s Toon a glimmer of hope, but his perfectly timed volley proved too little too late, partly thanks to the turgid efforts of Sean Longstaff in the centre.
Longstaff has now started eight of his 11 Premier League appearances this season but is without a goal or an assist.
He only registered one shot during Sunday’s 2-1 defeat with an effort coming in the 21st-minute that was blocked, and he never came close to creating a chance for a teammate to score with just 11 of his 33 passes coming in the final-third, per WhoScored.
The 23-year-old Toon product completed a combined 27 attempted passes against Leicester, yet let Bruce down vividly when off the ball with just one clearance, one interception and one successful tackle to his name.
He had attempted three tackles but was dribbled past twice, while losing three of five ground duels and two of four aerial contests for a mere 44% success rate, plus turning over possession on six occasions, per SofaScore.
Longstaff displayed glimpses of his passing ability with three successful long balls from six attempts, yet never sought to bring play forward himself with no dribbles recorded.
Bruce will be livid with Longstaff for squandering his chance to regain a permanent starting role in Hayden’s absence, and will likely see the £16m-rated lightweight as being firmly behind his younger brother in the Magpies pecking order from now on.