Matt Ritchie is back in the Scotland squad having missed some Scottish call-ups when it turns out he had a hernia injury.
Without anybody knowing he had a hernia problem and took injections for it so he could train and keep playing for Newcastle in our promotion season.
Matt was one of the stars last season in scoring goals – along with Dwight Gayle.
Matt had 12 goals and 7 assists, and he had a very productive season last term.
Matt Ritchie – in Scotland’s colors
Dwight scored a massive 23 goals for us last season but both players, who stepped down a league to join us, are finding it more difficult in the Premier League this season.
Matt has been interviewed in the Scotsman today, and he reveals his hernia problem of last year and then talks about Rafa:
“I had been playing for Newcastle for probably around three or four months really struggling and I tailored my training.”
“It was sore but I’m fully fit now, that’s in the past and hopefully the future can be more successful.”
“I was playing week in, week out for my club and doing well.”
“It was more down to the fact I was playing with injections for most of last season to get through the pain barrier.”
“It was about managing my body. At the time it was about promotion to the Premier League and whether I risked coming away with Scotland and getting injured.”
“I made the decision to get treatment back at Newcastle and used the time to get ready for the next game.”
“That wasn’t me choosing Newcastle over Scotland. It was about managing my body and not wanting to break down.”
“As soon as the season finished I went straight in for the hernia operation. Now I feel all good.”
“Rafa Benitez’ record speaks for itself.”
“The attention to detail we get given is incredible. He has certainly improved me as a player. I feel like I have developed under him.”
“It has been a real learning curve for me personally.”
“Newcastle is a massive club and playing in front of 52,000 week in week out, it’s fantastic.”
“The fans have been fantastic with us since day one. I started quite well and that always helps with a few goals.”
“It’s been a real successful period in my career.”
With two wins in our last four games, we are starting to look like we could be safe in the Premier League this season.
Our next game is crucial and if we can beat the Terriers next Saturday at home we will be in good shape to avoid relegation.
Finally, we knew Matt was a very brave lad – but this demonstrates it, and he didn’t even talk about the injury at the time.
He was born to play for Newcastle United!