Newcastle fans have finally got a reason to smile again. The Magpies currently sit 6th in the Premier League’s form table over the last five games, ahead of league leaders Liverpool. One man who they can thank for that is the tireless Matt Ritchie, who has been a key figure in their recent form since he changed his game to become a wing-back.
Matt Ritchie has been absolutely tremendous since moving to LWB. He played there for Swindon or Portsmouth if I’m not mistaken.
The fans who’ve been clamouring for him to be converted to a wing-back have been proven right. #NUFC
— NUFC 360 (@NUFC360) February 24, 2019
Rafa Benitez obviously saw all that he needed to see in his Scottish winger and made the change to convert him from an attacking outlet to a wing-back who can put his engine to use at both ends of the pitch, and that is exactly what the Scotsman has done, and to great effect. Against Huddersfield on Saturday the 29-year-old was sublime and he’ll be keen to keep up his good form.
With Ritchie on one side of the Magpies back three and DeAndre Yedlin on the other Benitez has found the perfect mix of raw pace and work rate and his side is thriving because of it. The change probably wouldn’t have been able to be made to full effect without the signing of Miguel Almiron, who is stepping into Ritchie’s old role further up the pitch, but just the fact that the ex-Bournemouth man has been so able to switch his position is something that the Magpies have loved.
You can read the Geordies’ verdict on Ritchie here:
I think he’s tailor made for it. Lad never stops running and is constantly flying down the wing, not afraid to get stuck in either.
— José Andersoni (@createskateV2) February 24, 2019
Ritchie is the ultimate pro… Tremendous work rate and fittnes with a never say die attitude.
Becoming a great black and white..
— polyflan1971 (@Peter09387178) 24 February 2019
Just gets better and better every week. Almiron in front of him will be lethal. And what he lacks in defensive capability lejuene makes up for him.
— Bri (@Bri2889) 24 February 2019
Ritchie is my favourite NUFC player!
— Tommy Dilfiger (@DOMIN8OR0604) February 24, 2019
He's just a proper footballer. Could probably play many roles. Passionate and understands the game. Future manager?
— M walker (@georgo1892) February 24, 2019
I love the way he HATES being subbed. Takes it as a personal insult. That's the way it should be
— Alan wilkinson (@Alanwil44563552) February 24, 2019
I don’t think there’s many fans who don’t rate Ritchie. He gives 100% every week. I’d love him to be around for a lot longer.
— Shaun Mcmanners (@ShaunMcmanners) February 24, 2019
This is his position now. Perfect for that role
— Mark Lightley (@Marklights_23) February 24, 2019
Agree. Vast improvement on Dummet also
— TOKYO:TIME (@tokyo_time) February 24, 2019
The Geordies cannot get enough of Ritchie in his current form and will hope his levels don’t drop given how string he’s been down the left.