Date: 15th January 2020 at 6:45am
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Despite Rochdale making life difficult for Newcastle United at Spotland just under a fortnight ago, the outfit dispatched their visitors with ease at St. James’ Park to progress into the fourth round of the , setting up a home tie against Oxford United. 

Following a decent point away at given the circumstances of picking up two injuries in the first-half and the return of captain Jamaal Lascelles, this can certainly be viewed as a positive week for , who also had Joelinton finally break his duck at St. James’ Park by scoring the last home goal in the 4-1 win.

However, the Brazilian or the aforementioned Lascelles weren’t the main talking points. Indeed, who, despite missing a large portion of the campaign thus far with injury, still averages the most key passes per game in the league (2.3 via WhoScored) of anyone in the squad, stepped up his recovery by getting his first start in months on Tyneside.

Upon his return to the starting XI, Ritchie certainly proved his worth. Deployed at left-back in what appeared to be 4-3-3 from , the 30-year-old set-up the first two strikes, forcing the Dale into an own goal early before teeing up with dangerous crosses from the left. Furthermore, given the fact Joelinton wins 5 aerial duels on average a game, perhaps a player of Ritchie’s crossing ability can help unleash him going forward.

As you can imagine, a number of supporters online enjoyed his return just days after the Chronicle reported he had agreed a new deal in principle, so here’s a look at how some of them reacted.

Just how big could Ritchie’s return be? Join the discussion by commenting below…