Sky Sports pundit Sue Smith is hoping that Matt Ritchie has not suffered a serious knee injury after he was forced off the pitch in Newcastle United’s penalty shoot-out defeat to Leicester at St James’ Park on Wednesday night.
With not long to go before half-time, Ritchie was on the receiving end of a tough tackle by Foxes midfielder Hamza Choudhury.
Although Ritchie initially thought he was fine to continue, Steve Bruce eventually replaced the winger with Christian Atsu, leading to fears that he has suffered a possible setback.
“He tried to come back on but he literally just jogged for a couple of minutes. You could see there is something clearly wrong with his knee,” said ex-England women international Smith on Sky Sports News on Wednesday night [08:32pm].
“He just takes a touch there and Choudhury comes in with a really strong [tackle].”
She added: “I just think the way he goes in and Ritchie’s leg is planted, it slightly twists.
“I just hope it’s not a serious injury but the fact that he’s had to go off suggests it’s not too good.”
Ritchie did not have the best of appearances against Leicester. He was perhaps at fault for the Foxes’ opening goal when James Maddison’s free-kick deflected off his head after he turned his back to the ball in the wall. Ritchie was also very clumsy in the tackle and got booked for a foul. That might have been what led to Choudhury going in hard on him just before the break. It was a very tough challenge and Ritchie looked in a lot of pain after it happened. Hopefully he can recover in time to play this weekend but with there being just a couple of days until the Magpies take on Watford at St James’ Park on Saturday, Bruce might end up having to leave him out. Newcastle do have other options to play in the left wing-back position where Ritchie has being playing in the league but it does not help Bruce that he will have to change his preferred starting line-up so early in the season due to an injury caused by another player.