A major injury update has emerged on Newcastle United utility man Matt Ritchie…
Chronicle reporter Lee Ryder has revealed that the Scottish full-back will be involved as the Magpies head down to St. Mary’s this evening.
The ex-Bournemouth man has not featured in the Premier League since the 4-0 loss to Manchester City at St. James’ Park in December.
Ryder Tweeted: “No major injury worries for #nufc ahead of their trip to Southampton. Matt Ritchie returns to the squad.”
This news will leave Eddie Howe buzzing as it will provide a big boost to his squad heading into the remaining months of the campaign.
It will be especially useful over the next four days as Newcastle face two Premier League matches in quick succession against Southampton and Chelsea.
Squad rotation to keep players fresh and avoid any further injury blows will be key and that is why the head coach will be delighted to welcome back another option.
Ritchie’s experience and versatility could be particularly key across the two games. Whilst he may not be a player Howe wants to pick from the start, given that he has only just returned from injury, he could be a useful substitute to bring on when needed.
He has shown throughout his career that he is adaptable and willing to play in any position to help the team on the pitch. As per Transfermarkt, he has played left-back, right-back, left-midfield, right-midfield and centre-forward throughout his time with Swindon, Bournemouth and Newcastle, among others.
This means that Howe can use him in a variety of positions as cover for potential injuries in the upcoming matches, which is one reason why he will be delighted to have him back and in the squad against the Saints.
His experience is another one as the 32-year-old has a wealth of top-flight football under his belt. Ritchie has played 162 Premier League matches throughout his career – playing in the division for Portsmouth, Bournemouth and now the Magpies.
This suggests that he has the nous to provide a boost off the bench at this level. He should have the relevant experience, given the amount of football he has played in the Premier League, to know what to do in the final 15 minutes to see a game out and this is why Howe will be delighted to have him available on the bench tonight and moving forward.