The hard-working veteran had a positive season for Newcastle United in what could be his final season in black and white.
No matter where he is playing on the pitch, Matt Ritchie always gives 110% effort and puts his heart into the action. Playing as a wing-back for most of the season, Ritchie’s performances were admirable, to say the least. He is undoubtedly a fan favorite as a result of his passion, but is he worthy of another season on Tyneside? We analyze the veteran’s 2018-19 season with Newcastle United to determine our analysis for his future with the club.
2018-19 Premier League stats: 36 appearances, eight assists, two goals, 51 interceptions
Matt Ritchie performed well this season when you consider the fact that he was forced to play out position as wing-back for a good number of matches this season. The Scottish international failed to beat his goal tally from last season, but he did well to lead the team in assists this term. Newcastle United could definitely find a younger winger who boasts more pace.
However, Ritchie’s vision and aggressive style of play make the Toon competitive in matches. In my eyes, he is a perfect fit for the team and I think he will stay on Tyneside for one more season despite heavy interest in his services from Stoke City.
2019-20 NUFC outlook: Keep Him
Carson A. Merk
Towards the beginning of the season, I drew some major flank from some of your kind readers for suggesting that Christian Atsu should replace Matt Ritchie on the wing. My main contention was that his work ethic and passion don’t cancel out his lack of productivity. (Atsu did replace him for a few matches). But, then Ritchie started to put some numbers on the board, even as he was moved out of position to the back-line. Eight assists is a solid number, especially for someone that was not playing in their best spot.
Despite his hard-working, heart of the sleeve attitude, I think it is time to let Ritchie go for the right price. There are rumblings that he wants a move away from Tyneside and at 29 years old, his value is certainly not going to increase in the future. While I don’t think moving him should be a priority because he is such a great leader and solid contributor, I think now’s the right time to sell him.
2019-20 NUFC outlook: Sell This Man