Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles says Matty Longstaff’s breakthrough into the first team is exactly what the club needed.
Longstaff celebrated a “dream” Premier League debut in Newcastle’s 1-0 victory over Manchester United two weeks ago.
He became the youngest Newcastle player to score on his Premier League debut and delighted supporters and neutrals with his overjoyed reaction in his post-match tunnel interview.
Lascelles says his performance and Newcastle’s result has helped recover a positive mood around the club, following a demoralising 5-0 loss to Leicester the week before.
“I’m buzzing for him since he’s come into the squad. Everything we do, he is up for it. He’s fit, he works hard and always gives extra,” he told Sky Sports News.
“The hard work has recently paid off, he’s been thrown into the deep end like his brother.
“What you do know is that he is a young Geordie lad who is going to roll his sleeves up and play with his heart.
“Straight after the Leicester game we needed players to be like that, he was a prime example of what you can get from that. His goal got us the three points, I’m over the moon for him.”
“You see all these big teams signing players for millions of pounds from overseas and everywhere else, Matty was not long ago training down with the reserve team.
“He’s just come up through the ranks and grabbed a first team spot with two hands.
“He’s humble, a very nice genuine lad. It must mean the world to him.”
‘Chelsea’s inexperience a weakness’
Lascelles is optimistic Newcastle can exploit the lack of experience and size in Frank Lampard’s side when they travel to Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
The Magpies skipper says their wins against Tottenham and Manchester United have shown they can take points off the top sides.
“Chelsea do have a young, energetic team but I’m not sure if they have much experience,” he said.
“I think we’ll have a good day, it’s obviously going to be tough with their quality and pace.
“They have attacking players who can create and hurt you from nothing.
“Experience is massive in football, the small things like running the game down, winning fouls. I do think we can get after them, they are not the biggest team either so maybe [we can exploit] set pieces. I do fancy ourselves.”