STEVE BRUCE will keep Matty Longstaff in his starting line-up for Newcastle United’s game at Chelsea, with the Magpies manager admitting it is all-but-impossible to drop the teenager after his match-winning heroics against Manchester United.

Longstaff capped his Premier League debut in memorable fashion as he scored the winner in the match that preceded the international break, and the youngster will retain his place in the side at Stamford Bridge.

Bruce said: “How could I leave him out? You can imagine what the kid’s been like, he’s been like a kid in a sweet shop. It’s been quite refreshing for all of us to witness the interview (after the Man United game). He beamed out of the television.

“It brought a refreshing humility to us all and it was a wonderful debut for the kid. We have to protect him and nurture him along the way because he’s got a big future ahead of him.

“He’s got to handle all that comes. Hopefully, we can help him in that respect. I don’t think I’ve witnessed as a good a debut. It wasn’t just the goal, that capped it too, it was the way he played in the whole game. It was terrific.

“From day one, he’s been knocking on the door. It was always a case of when do I put him in. The circumstances were right. Since I joined up with the squad in China, he’s the one that’s constantly performed well in training and his enthusiasm is there for everybody to see.”

Bruce has been working with the Newcastle hierarchy to tie up both Longstaff brothers to a new contract, with Matty currently due to become a free agent at the end of the current campaign.

The Newcastle boss said: “It’s going to be above me. Lee (Charnley) will be on with that, but we’ll do our utmost to make sure we don’t lose our best young players.

“I’m sure we’ll be all out to get that tied up – and his brother, which is vitally important. There are one or two that are in discussions with the club, and I’m sure we’ll move that on in the next week or two.”

With DeAndre Yedlin having returned from international duty with the United States with no problems, and Dwight Gayle back in full training, Matt Ritchie and Florian Lejeune are the only injury absentees tomorrow.

Bruce said: “There were one or two carrying knocks going into the international break that thankfully they’ve overcome.

“There’s only Matt Ritchie and big Flo injured. We’re nearing a full squad, which is always good. So, in that respect, it’s been okay.”