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Former Newcastle United midfielder Matty Longstaff joins MLS side Toronto

Former Newcastle midfielder Matty Longstaff joins Toronto
© Reuters
Major League Soccer outfit Toronto announce the signing of former Newcastle United midfielder Matty Longstaff on a two-year deal.

Major League Soccer outfit Toronto have announced the signing of former Newcastle United midfielder Matty Longstaff on a free transfer.

The 23-year-old sustained a serious knee injury during a loan spell with League Two side Colchester United last season, and since then he has not made a competitive appearance in the 2023-24 campaign.

Longstaff, who previously had spells on loan at Mansfield Town and Aberdeen, burst through the academy ranks at boyhood club Newcastle and scored on his Premier League debut against Manchester United in a 1-0 home win in October 2019.

The midfielder, whose brother Sean Longstaff has established himself as a first-team regular with the Magpies, made a total of 20 senior appearances for the club in all competitions, including his last away against Arsenal back in January 2021.

Longstaff was offered the chance to join Serie A side Udinese in 2020, but the move failed to materialise for the midfielder, who was eventually released by Newcastle upon the expiration of his contract last summer, and has since been waiting patiently to find himself a new club.

Following a 14-month injury layoff, Longstaff is now keen to get his career back on track in MLS with Toronto, where he has penned a two-year contract that includes an option to extend until 2026.

"I'm thrilled to welcome Matty to our squad," Toronto head coach John Herdman told the club's official website. "His Premier League experience and dynamic playing style will add depth to our midfield and complement our tactical blueprint."

Reflecting on his experience at Newcastle in an interview with SportBible in October last year, Longstaff said: "You go from being at the top to the bottom. I guess me and Sean have both experienced that.

"When Sean first came through at Newcastle, he was flying. He was being talked about everywhere and then suddenly he was at the bottom and that was similar to me.

"I came through, did really well and then I was sent out on loan before ending up down at the bottom. It's football. It's just one of those things. You have your highs and lows.

"When I was breaking through, I was at the top and at the minute, I'm probably at the bottom with the injury and things but I guess when you're there, there's only one place you can go. I'm really motivated to get back. I want to be a top player."

Longstaff will link up with the likes of former Birmingham City defender Kevin Long, another new arrival, and experienced Italy international Lorenzo Insigne at Toronto, who finished rock bottom of the Eastern Conference last year and played out a 0-0 draw with FC Cincinnati in their opening game of the 2024 campaign last weekend.

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