There’s no doubt that Newcastle United have missed utility man Matt Ritchie while he’s been sidelined with an injury suffered against Leicester City last month.
The Scotland international has developed into one of the team’s most important players since joining the club from Bournemouth, and his adaptation to a left wing back role last season showcased his immense quality.
With all that said, the Magpies fans will surely be shouting from the rooftops after what head coach Steve Bruce just said on Friday about the inimitable Ritchie.
“Matt Ritchie has been quite remarkable in his recovery,” he said, as per The Chronicle. “He has shocked us all. But the way he trained yesterday and the day before, as long as he doesn’t have any reaction, he is not far away.”
The Chronicle’s piece claims that Ritchie could return as early as the Premier League clash with the Foxes at the end of September, despite being ruled out for two months when he initially picked up the problem in the Carabao Cup contest.
When you look at the statistics from the player’s campaign so far, it tells you all you need to know about how vital he is to Bruce’s team and why the supporters will be so pleased with the coach’s update.
As per WhoScored.com, the Scot is currently averaging two tackles and 1.7 interceptions per game in the league. He’s also registering 0.7 blocks and 0.7 clearances per outing.
Attacking-wise, as well, he has made his presence felt. Ritchie has produced one shot, 2.3 key passes and 0.7 dribbles per game. The well-roundedness of those numbers shows how perfectly suited he is to the wing back position that he has made his own over the past year.
Now, then, he has to continue his terrific recovery from injury and work his way back into Bruce’s side, something that he will no doubt do in short order.