Matt Ritchie Describes What Rafa Wants From Him

26 year-old Matt Ritchie had an offer from West Ham in the summer but chose Newcastle because he wanted to work under world-class manager Rafa Benitez, and Rafa had made it clear to the winger that he really wanted him on Tyneside.

Rafa explained on his radio call-in show on BBC Radio Newcastle last night that once Andros Townsend came back to him in June and said he had decided to leave Newcastle,  then with the help of Lee Charnley they made a move for Matt.

matt ritchie with Rafa benitez

Matt Ritchie talks to Rafa Benitez

And in fact Matt was signed before Andros then moved to Crystal Palace – and that’s something Rafa has done quite well with this summer – to bring in a replacement before  a player is moved out.

Ritchie is convinced that Newcastle can become a top club under Rafa and he was asked today how he felt when he knew of Benitez’s interest in him:

“That felt fantastic,” “As a footballer, to know he wanted me gives me a lot of confidence.” “But I can’t take my foot off the gas for a minute.”

“I’m at a crucial stage in my career at 26, I’d like to kick on to a new level with a massive club like Newcastle.”

“If we can get back in the Premier League then there is no reason why we can’t be a top club.” “Rafa joked that he wants goals and assists – and I’m sure he does,”

“But that’s what I will be looking to bring – flair, goals, assists.” So what does Benitez expect from his most expensive Newcastle signing to date?”

“That is what we’ll need in the Championship.” “We have good attacking players and we need to make sure we produce.”

“I can’t speak about last season, but since I’ve been involved the group has been fantastic.” “Everyone gets on and backs each other.”

“We trust each other with the ball and you can see we have a good bond already – that will only get stronger.”

“We won’t leave anything in the dressing room.”

We expect Matt to start the game tomorrow night at Fulham – the first game in a very important season for Newcastle United and let’s hope we can win the game.

That would be an improvement over the last time we were in the Championship, when in our first game we had to come back from being 1-0 down at West Brom and manager Roberto Di Matteo to get the 1-1 draw.

Matt has the talent and drive to become  a better player under the guidance of Rafa Benitez and that’s also true of a number of the other new players the manager has brought into the club this summer.

Howay The Lads!!

Comments welcome.

15 comments so far

  • Jib

    Aug 4, 2016 at 8:44 AM

    Comment #1

    It was noticeable when asked about Knockaert on the Beeb , Rafa hadn’t given up , he just acknowledged it won’t be easy.
    I think the Frenchman could be the final piece in the jigsaw – he is everything certain other Frenchmen at the club are not.


    Aug 4, 2016 at 8:49 AM

    Comment #2


    I’m with you on dummet, he’s really under-rated. I’d have dummet playing left back this season again.

  • JDdubai

    Aug 4, 2016 at 9:00 AM

    Comment #3

    I think Dummett is nailed on to start tomorrow.

    As long as he has someone who can attack ahead of him he is ok, Aarons playing LW will take the pressure of Dummett to do much going forward except back up and support.

    Its when we had Wini playing LW and cutting in all the time that dummett then had to offer the width and he couldt really get past his man so it limited our attackers to the right side.

  • jimmysmith

    Aug 4, 2016 at 9:01 AM

    Comment #4

    Dummett to me is a fast, mobile CB with a left peg. He’s a natural left sided player, and they aren’t easy to find, and so he’s been playing left back. It’s no surprise he’s limited in the opponents half, and he’s not likely to get Ritchie and Aarons on the ball early, which would be a real asset for us, whereas you suspect Gamez would. I can’t see him being first choice, and if he is, it’ll be a weakness in our side overall, despite being a solid defender.

  • expatmag

    Aug 4, 2016 at 9:02 AM

    Comment #5


    Offer Brighton Goofy and Riviere plus a coiple of million for Knockaert

  • Jib

    Aug 4, 2016 at 9:05 AM

    Comment #6

    Strange you should say that !
    I’m wracking my brains to remember if Hoots knows any of our current squad from his time here

  • nut meg

    Aug 4, 2016 at 9:07 AM

    Comment #7

    I had a look at Kieran Tierney on you tube after you mentioned him a few days ago. He looked so mature for a 19 year old, great acceleration, pace, anticipation,interceptions ,uses the ball very well picking out his man in the box etc…very very impressive.One to keep an eye on without doubt.

  • YouCouldn'tMakeItUp

    Aug 4, 2016 at 9:09 AM

    Comment #8

    Sammi ameobi was probably around in hoots tome

  • expatmag

    Aug 4, 2016 at 9:09 AM

    Comment #9


    Provably Sammy and Bigi or even Tiote and Krul would be the only ones

  • YouCouldn'tMakeItUp

    Aug 4, 2016 at 9:09 AM

    Comment #10


  • YouCouldn'tMakeItUp

    Aug 4, 2016 at 9:10 AM

    Comment #11

    Oh yeah. Bigi krul and tiote. Can’t believe they have been here that long!

  • hibbitt

    Aug 4, 2016 at 9:11 AM

    Comment #12


    do you honestly think Chris is that daft he would clean up our rubbish and we take his diamond

  • Nufc-83

    Aug 4, 2016 at 9:13 AM

    Comment #13

    Jail when someone says you will be paying 60m for a full back that can go forward as well as defend well then I’m afraid this is complete rubbish and so I call it as I see it.

    Hibbit and fostino mbabu has played CB not rb for most of his career I read this in an article that profiled his career and it focused on his height not being enough to play in that position but he feels he is better in this area and made examples of other smaller cbs.

    LILO I never said santon was good although I actually thought he was ok but the point was if a right footed player plays left back if they cut in and deliver good quality it does not bother me st all and in fact the in swinger is often more dangerous.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Aug 4, 2016 at 9:16 AM

    Comment #14

    Big I was signed the summer after we finished fifth.

  • Jib

    Aug 4, 2016 at 9:25 AM

    Comment #15

    No I don’t think Hughton is daft at all.
    I think he is the honourable sort of guy who wouldn’t stand in the way of a young winger furthering his career.
    All we are trying to do is sweeten the bitter pill of the inevitable.
    Although Brighton are a league above us we are far and away the more exciting prospect for a young player.
    We have to give Hoots something to placate the ire of his supporters


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