STEVE BRUCE is concerned by length of time it has taken promising midfielder Matty Longstaff to commit to a new deal at Newcastle United.

Reports in recent days have suggested the 19-year-old has attracted attention from AC Milan and Inter Milan after entering the final six months of his deal at St James’ Park.

Longstaff, whose current contract is a basic of less than £1,000-a-week, is keen to stay at his home club but there has been no breakthrough in contract talks as things stand.

“It’s a concern for us all, of course it is,” said Bruce. “I hope we can get that tied up, I really do. But, they’ve got the power these days, the players.

“We see it often now, with young players as well. I hope there’s a bit of common sense.

“There’s nobody, at 19, played more games than him. He’s got an opportunity. If he’s fit, he plays (against Oxford).”

Longstaff travelled to Oxford with the rest of the first team squad on Monday and his thigh problem will be assessed before a decision is made as to whether he will start against the U’s in to night’s FA Cup fourth round replay.

Managing director Lee Charnley is engaged in talks with Longstaff and his agent aimed at finding a breakthrough, but he is now free to talk to European clubs and could sign a pre-contract ahead of summer move if that was what he wanted.

Compensation would only amount to around the £400,000 mark for him and Bruce would love to have him on board for the longer term. The contract Sean Longstaff signed in December 2018 – tying him to the club until 2022 – could be influencing things and the elder of the two could also get improved terms.

“Look, we always want to keep your best young players, especially if they’re Geordies, of course. Let’s hope they both get tied up,” said Bruce.

“In all of it, with Matty in particular, at 19, he has now played 11, 12 times. I’ve dipped him in and out. I can’t see another 19-year-old playing (regularly at Premier League level).”