Eddie Howe, Kieran Trippier & Dan Burn single out unlikely Newcastle United star for praise

Newcastle United under-21s regular Matty Bondswell came in for special praise after his performance against Benfica.

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Young left-back Matty Bondswell made just his second senior appearance against Benfica on Tuesday night - yet you wouldn’t have thought it.

The 20-year-old was a surprise addition to the squad that Eddie Howe flew to Portugal for a six-day training camp.

And even though he was named on the bench for the Eusebio Cup clash at the 65,000-capacity Estadio da Luz, any appearance would be a major surprise.

Newcastle United left-back Matty Bondswell. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images)Newcastle United left-back Matty Bondswell. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images)
Newcastle United left-back Matty Bondswell. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images)

But that is exactly what happened as Bondswell replaced first-choice left-back Matt Targett at half-time as part of 11 changes.

For context, Bondswell’s only previous first-team appearance was a brief outing against Doncaster Rovers at the Keepmoat Stadium.

In Lisbon, the former RB Leipzig youngster played the second half in front of almost 50,000 spectators.

Bondswell sure grasped his opportunity and earned special praise from dressing room leaders Kieran Trippier and Dan Burn, plus head coach Howe.

What Kieran Trippier said

“I thought it was a great experience for a lot of players, coming to a place like this it’s always difficult,” Tripper told NUFCTV.

“I think you look at Matt who played left-back, I thought he was outstanding.

“It’s not easy to get thrown in the deep end but to go a goal down and how we reacted to come back at 1-1, and then same again at 2-1 down, I thought we showed great character against a tough opponent.

“They (young players) can learn a lot. It was a friendly but it didn’t look like it. The tackles were flying in but that just shows the personality of every single player on our team. We want to win no matter who we play against.

“The players showed their commitment to the club and should be very proud.”

What Dan Burn said

Speaking to local journalists in the mixed zone after the game, Burn, without being prompted, made a point to praise Bondswell’s performance.

The Blyth-born defender played with Bondswell in a four-man back four.

He said: “To come in and produce the performance he did for a lad of his age is outstanding.”

What Eddie Howe said

“It’s great to see the young lads with us,” Howe said after also including Alex Murphy and Santiago Munoz on the trip.

“Matty did very well tonight, that will be a great experience for him. It could be a big moment in his career. He’ll learn a lot from it in terms of the atmosphere and the players he is up against and the players he is playing with.

“Sometimes as a young player you need that break and I thought he did his chances no harm of maybe more outings.”

Bondswell will link back up with Elliot Dickman’s under-21s but perhaps Howe will have no hesitation in handing him further first team opportunities.