Last summer Newcastle United were preparing for life in the Championship.
Manager Rafa Benitez had confirmed that he’d take charge that season, and fans were hopeful that their beloved Newcastle could come back up.
What fans weren’t expecting, was some of the Premier League names who chose to take a step down to the Championship to help Newcastle.
One of these players was Bournemouth winger Matt Ritchie, who chose tyneside over a move to West Ham.
Ritchie has been pivotal for the magpies in securing promotion back to the Premier League, scoring 12 goals and getting 7 assists in 40 league appearances.
He has become one of the biggest names in a strong Newcastle squad, and his rise has been coming, he has impressed everywhere he’s gone.
I first got a glimpse of what Ritchie had to offer in the 2011-2012 season, when he was playing in League 2 for Swindon Town. He got an assist for the robins at home to Cheltenham Town. I was in the away end that day and he was the brightest player on the pitch by some margin.
Ritchie’s 11 goals that season helped Swindon Town to the title, but his rise didn’t stop there. In league One, Ritchie improved dramatically. The step up in quality from League Two wasn’t affecting him, as the Scot netted 12 times in what turned out be his last season for the Robins.
Ritchie then enjoyed 2 Championship seasons at Bournemouth, scoring 25 times and helping Bournemouth secure promotion to the Premier League in 2014-15 season.
The Cherries winger then proved his quality at the highest level, scoring 16 times in all competitions in his first Premier League season, and helping Bournemouth to safety.
From League Two to the Premier League Ritchie got goals, and his career path makes for incredible reading.
The 27-Year-Old is now back in the Premier League after as season with Newcastle in the Championship. He will be looking to hit the sort of form he hit with Bournemouth 2 years prior and in my opinion there’s no reason why at the age he is, he can’t go on to become a fine Premier League talent, providing he stays fit and avoid injury.
Ritchie is dangerous down the wing, he has a good eye for a cross, but can also cut in and shoot very effectively, making him a threat to any full back.
The English born midfielder will also be looking to gain more caps for Scotland in the coming years, he has currently featured 14 times for his country, scoring three goals.