After a few games when he was off-form a little bit Matt Ritchie has come storming back and has scored a brace in each of the last two games to make sure we have not yet missed top goalscorer Dwight Gayle, who is out with a hamstring problem.
That’s exactly what you want to see in a team – somebody else stepping up to the plate when one of our top players get injured .
Matt is already a very popular guy on Tyneside after he committed to Newcastle in the summer and dropped down a division to play at second division Newcastle United.
Matt Ritchie after scoring against Rotherham on Saturday
That’s after he had reached the pinnacle of his career at Bournemouth by helping them get promoted to the Premier League for the first time ever and getting two successive promotions after he joined the south coast side in January 2013 from Swindon Town for £400K.
So let’s not underestimate the courage Matt showed in joining Rafa Benitez and Newcastle.
Matt has often talked about why he joined Newcastle and the Rafa revolution and this is what he said in the Match Day Program for Saturday’s game against Rotherham United:
“I worked all my career to get to the Premier League, and I got there.”
“I had to think about the situation, but the opportunity to come to a football club like this, with the squad that we’ve got, with the manager, and the club’s going in the right direction.”
“It was a fantastic opportunity, and I want to be part of something special. “The main thing was the size of the club.”
“The history the club’s got, the potential the club’s got.”
“It’s still a massive club, but it’s about the potential it’s got to kick on again in the future and have an era like it’s had in the past.”
“It would be fantastic to be part of that.” “Hopefully, we can continue the way we’ve been going this season and start that off again.”
“The manager’s showed faith in me, which is important. As a player, you need to feel like you’re going to be part of something.”
“I feel that, and I’m really enjoying it.”
Matt is one of the big success stories at Newcastle this season and he already has 10 goals in 30 appearances for us.
And Rafa certainly rates Matt highly as he had this to say about him yesterday in the Chronicle:
“In any team, to have players with quality and with the commitment that Ritchie has can always make the difference.”
“It depends on the level as to whether you can player higher in the division or not.”
“But the way that he works and the passion that he plays with means he can play in any division.’