Steve Bruce hits out at Newcastle United star after criticism and talks Man Utd links

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The former Newcastle United manager has addressed criticism from one current Magpies star.

Former Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce has criticised Magpies midfielder Sean Longstaff and claimed he lacked maturity during his time in charge at St James Park.

The United academy product broke into the Magpies first-team during the second half of the 2018/19 season and received praise from the likes of Pep Guardiola during a promising introduction to life at a senior level.

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However, a knee injury suffered in a 2-0 defeat at West Ham United cut short Longstaff's first season in the first-team setup and Benitez had been replaced by former Sunderland and Sheffield Wednesday manager Bruce by the time he returned to full fitness.

Such was Longstaff's impact during his early months under Benitez, there was strong speculation suggesting Manchester United were keen to sign the Geordie midfielder and NewcastleWorld understands that interest was made known to the Magpies hierarchy at the time.

However, Bruce insisted a move to Old Trafford was 'never close' and hit back at criticism he received from Longstaff in an interview with The Athletic as he claimed he didn't feel he was being coached by the former Manchester United defender and his staff and 'wasn't enjoying football'.

He told Gambling Zone: “I inherited Sean at a time where a big-money move to Manchester United was on the cards. Newcastle were turning down a colossal amount of money and that was swirling around at the time. Sean’s move to Man United was never close.

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“He was insistent that it was at one point but I knew Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Mike Phelan. It was never on the cards. Sean was recovering from an awful injury. He's entitled to his opinion (about me) and he's shown maturity over the last couple of years. We had him almost five years ago. He was a lot younger then, a lot of things were swirling around and that was combined with a long-term injury. I've been nothing but impressed with how he's got on and you have to accept that criticism of a part of management.

“Not everybody is going to like you and I never expected him to. It's never given as a manager. There were times when Sean needed to mature and he has done. He's proven to be a very good player.”

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