The 29-year-old is slated to miss a couple of months after being taken down by a horror tackle from Leicester’s Hamza Choudhury, and Sky Sports pundit Mills feels he’ll be a big miss for Steve Bruce’s side.
“He’s gone from an out-and-out wide player to really working into that wing-back role. You have to say he’s been outstanding in that position in a struggling Newcastle side.”
It’s impossible to disagree with Mills here, really. He’s hit the nail on the head in terms of how seamless a transition Ritchie has made from being a really attack-minded winger to a terrific wing back for a struggling Newcastle team. He was one of the stars of last season under former boss Rafael Benitez, who was the man to switch Ritchie to the wing back role. The Scotland international, far from taking the change as an insult or thinking it was beneath him, has made the position his own with a series of solid performances for the Magpies over the past year. His injury against Leicester is certainly a big blow to Bruce’s team, and make no mistake. It puts a lot of pressure on summer signing Jetro Willems to adapt quickly to English football and be a success on the left hand side of the defence. He’s got big boots to fill in that position, that’s for sure.