Willems was used sparingly in the opening month of the season and was poor when used off the bench against Arsenal in the opening day defeat.
Ritchie was forced into a spell on the sidelines after a horrendous tackle from Leicester City midfielder Hamza Choudhury in the Carabao Cup defeat on penalties.
That has meant that Willems has been utilised as a left wing-back ever since, and he has certainly not let Steve Bruce down in each game he has featured in since.
In the latest Sky Sports power rankings, no Newcastle players feature in the top 50 for the Premier League despite the Magpies picking up all three points in their 1-0 win over Manchester United on Sunday.
It does, however, highlight each team’s top-performing player at this current moment in time, with Newcastle’s being Willems for his consistency on the left-hand side.
The latest Sky update only further reinforces the 25-year-old’s importance to the Magpies – something that will surely see him keep his place in Bruce’s side for the near future.
Not only has Willems contributed going forward for the Magpies, but he has also become solid in defence as the games have gone on, including Sunday’s clean-sheet.
Willems has completed 1.8 tackles per game according to WhoScored, whilst also completing a single key pass in each outing as well – great stats for a wing-back who is expected to stay solid at the back and create chances going forward.
The Dutch international is finally gaining the praise he deserves and this latest update only highlights his growing importance in the North East.