STEVE BRUCE does not think he has witnessed a better Premier League debut than Matty Longstaff’s - even though the teenage midfield prospect actually said “thank you” after hitting the match-winning goal against Manchester United.

Longstaff, playing alongside his brother Sean in the middle of the Magpies’ midfield, pounced on Jetro Willems' low pass that was rolled back to him and struck the sweetest of low drives inside David de Gea’s bottom right corner with 19 minutes remaining.

It was enough to defeat the Red Devils, who are now just two points above the bottom three, and justified head coach Bruce’s decision to include the talented North Shields youngster in such a high profile top-flight game for the first time in his career.

Bruce hung around on the touchline after the final whistle to congratulate Longstaff after he had been serenaded with chants of “he’s one of our own” from the vast majority of the 51,000-plus crowd at St James’ Park.

And the Newcastle boss, who had never been his former club Manchester United in management, said: “It’s quite ironic that Matty Longstaff has beaten them in his first game! I have been gone 20-odd years … I am delighted for everyone concerned.”

He added: “He trains every day with a big beaming smile, he is refreshing, wants to play. I am delighted. The first thing he said to me coming off is ‘thank you’. It’s refreshing and for him to say that after he has just done.

“Matty hit one in exactly the same position against St Etienne in the summer. We have seen him in training do that, but ‘surely not was the call’. He smashed it in the net and it was great.

“It is great to see a local kid play alongside his brother. To score in your debut against Man U … I don’t think have witnessed any better ones.

“To be fair his first pass (to DeAndre Yedlin), he opened himself up and he pinged it 35 yards to someone’s chest and I thought ‘aye aye.’ He was not fazed by it at all. It was great. I’m delighted for him.

“The way the temperament of the two of them is, I knew they would bounce off each other. That was the best I have seen Sean play for a long time too. His brother’s breathing on his toes which is great.

“I hope the young kids keep going, they will have bumps on the road before we can say they are fully established, but the two have made a big statement today.”

Longstaff, whose brother Sean was linked with Manchester United in the summer, could not believe what had happened.

He said: “I think getting to play with Sean was unbelievable. We used to kick each other in the garden growing up so to be on the same team, for our hometown club, and to win against Man Utd, who are a good side, is a bit surreal.

“I found out I was in the team after training yesterday. Your belly starts to turn a bit, you get a bit nervous and then you don't sleep much. I dreamed about it last night, this is kind how it of went.”

Longstaff’s winner was much needed for Bruce on the back of a disappointing start to his Newcastle spell, particularly after the 5-0 drubbing at Leicester City seven days earlier. Bruce was heavily criticised after that.

Bruce said: “The big thing I have said all week is when you get beaten badly, you need a reaction and a response. There has been a lot of harsh words spoken and rightly so, but one thing you do need is have that reaction.

“We have had two or three missing, Yedlin and Allan Saint-Maximim in particular, who haven’t played for months. It was great to see and I was delighted with the performance.

“For this to come against the visitors for me, it’s been a long time coming, probably too long. It has been a difficult week in particular but that result gives everyone a lift.

“It’s the biggest insult of the lot (to be criticised for tactics), I don’t think you can manage 400 games in the Premier League, 550 in the Championship, play 980 times and not be a little bit organised. If people just say he’s not good enough then fine, I understand that. When there is criticism of tactics or whatever, it is probably always the thing that bears with me more than anything.

“Considering the start we have had, we have a nice and easy one against Chelsea next game. I knew my first nine games would be tough, we knew it would be difficult. I just hope everyone comes back after the internationals and we are ready to go again at Chelsea away.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the Manchester United boss, tried to put a smile on his side’s situation because of injury problems, but knows leaders Liverpool are up next.

Solskjaer said: "We're disappointed. We did lack quite a few key players but that's no excuse. The players worked hard and ran their socks off but at the moment we're in a place we're not used to. Some of the boys lack a little bit of composure and we don't create enough chances to win a game of football.

"They stay together as a team but we don't create. Luckily for us it's now the international break. We get time to evaluate what's gone on over these eight games. We will sit down, hopefully we'll get a few players back. It's my responsibility. I need to sort their heads out. Young boys lacking confidence - they need some help from experienced players and staff."