Newcastle United’s Matt Ritchie has retired from playing international football for Scotland according to a report in the Daily Mail. Ritchie had qualified for Scotland through his father, who was born in Edinburgh. He had 16 caps since his debut in March of 2015.
Ritchie has not been available for selection in over a year. Last November, Ritchie told then Scotland manager Alex McLeish that he would not be available to play for Scotland for the foreseeable future. However, he made it clear at the time that he was not officially retiring.
Ritchie turned down a request to be involved in Scotland’s Nations League matches against Albania and Isreal last year. This is what Alex McLeish said at the time:
“I wanted Matt to come in, but he has asked to be left out at the moment.
“He has not retired or anything. It is not something for me to discuss.
“He had injury issues as well, and again, there is management of his injuries.
“You don’t know everyone’s private life, so you have to respect that.”
According to the Daily Mail, Ritchie was approached by current Scotland manager Steve Clarke recently about his future availability. Ritchie told Clarke that he was retiring from international football to spend more time with his family during international breaks and to make sure he can maintain his fitness for Newcastle.
Ritchie has been out of action for Newcastle since suffering his ankle injury on August 28th. That may have played a role in his decision. Ritchie’s last appearance for Scotland was on March 23, 2018, in a friendly against Costa Rica.