Matt Ritchie has made at least 38 appearances for Newcastle United in his three seasons with the club. He has been a constant presence in the team whose work-rate and leadership have been massive for this club since he joined.
He will be out of the side now until at least late October. The tackle by Hamza Choudhury has damaged Ritchie’s ankle ligaments, and Bruce has put a two month time table on his return.
Bruce spoke to BBC Newcastle this morning about what Matt Ritchie means to this team and the repercussions of Choudhury’s tackle.
"I know the young player at Leicester has apologised but when you do go reckless… they are the tackles and challenges which really damage people."
— Matthew Raisbeck (@raisbeck10) August 30, 2019
We’ve often joked that Matt Ritchie never does anything in half-measure. So we’re sure that Ritchie will approach his recovery with the same zeal he does a football match. However, this club will have to pick up the pieces left by his absence.
While Jetro Willems can slot into the left wing-back position and put in performances, it’s Ritchie’s passion that will be hard to replace. Luckily enough for Steve Bruce, this team is not short of leaders in the dressing room or on the pitch.
Players like Jamaal Lascelles, Isaac Hayden, and Fabian Schar are all leaders in their own right. While they may not skirt chaos on the pitch the way Ritchie does, there are not many that do.
The team will be short an inspirational leader for the next few months, but we have faith that Jetro Willems can step into the void and play well like he did against Leicester City. This is a big opportunity for Jetro who is currently the only player we have on loan. He will be determined to make sure that Newcastle trigger the option to make his stay a permanent one.