Matty Longstaff has admitted his perfect Premier League debut was even better than a dream after firing Newcastle to a priceless victory over Manchester United.
The 19-year-old midfielder was handed his top-flight bow alongside 21-year-old brother Sean and rewarded head coach Steve Bruce for his faith with the only goal in a 1-0 victory which lifted the Magpies out of the relegation zone.
He told NUFC TV: “It’s a bit of a dream, to be honest. I went to bed dreaming of this moment and for it to happen, it’s a bit surreal.
“I’m going to say it’s better. Running away to the fans, you don’t know how loud the place is. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
Longstaff’s big moment arrived 17 minutes from time as Newcastle finally got their noses in front from one of their pacy counter-attacks.
Miguel Almiron picked up the ball in the left-back position and fed a fine pass into Allan Saint-Maximin who, not for the first time in the game, cut a swathe through the red shirts before picking out Jetro Willems on the left side of the penalty area.
Willems spotted Longstaff arriving and laid the ball back for him, and the teenager smashed it first time past David De Gea’s despairing dive and into the back of the net.
He said: “I remember Jetro getting it and thinking: ‘I’ve got a bit of room here’. Jetro had good vision and picked me out, and I remember thinking: ‘Just hit it, just hit it’ and, luckily, it went in the back of the net.”
Longstaff might have opened his account before the break with a dipping effort which clipped the crossbar, but he was happy enough with what followed.
He said: “That one would have looked better, but to do it in front of the Gallowgate End was pretty special. My uncle and little cousin were sitting in there, so to do it in front of them as well makes it a little bit better.”
It was a proud day for the Longstaff family with father David, a former Great Britain ice hockey international, opting for a seat in the stands at St James’ Park rather than his coaching duties for Whitley Warriors’ derby clash with Billingham Stars.
Longstaff junior said: “He missed the derby day, but if he missed that (the goal), I don’t think he would ever forgive himself.
“He was humming and hawing about it and I said to him: ‘How many chances do you get to see me make my debut and play in the middle with my brother?’ and he kind of agreed with that.
“Especially now, he’ll be happy he didn’t miss it.”
The win could hardly have been more timely for Newcastle, who have now taken eight points from as many games to slightly ease the pressure on Bruce following their horror show at Leicester.
Longstaff said: “He’s taken a bit of stick that’s probably a bit harsh, and it’s a big three points for the whole city. Going into the international break, it’s a good momentum for Chelsea in the next game.”