Newcastle have had an indifferent start to the Premier League season. The Magpies have been beaten by both Arsenal and Norwich City but overcame Tottenham last weekend before being narrowly beaten on penalties by Leicester City in the Carabao Cup.
This weekend brings a clash against Watford at St. James’ Park, and whilst the Magpies will have to be confident as they face the only side beneath them in the table, the news of Matt Ritchie’s spell on the sidelines is some of the worst possible news they could have been given.
In Steve Bruce’s press conference this morning he confirmed that Ritchie would be facing two months on the sidelines, as per The Chronicle, and that will throw up a major dilemma for the Magpies, as the versatile Scotsman is often one who is relied upon to step up.
The way in which Ritchie suffered his injury seems to have seriously irritated Bruce too. A heavy tackle from Leicester City’s Hamza Choudhury, one which the Foxes’ man actually won the ball, inflicted the damage, but either way, it’s not good news for Bruce.
It means that the former Sunderland manager will have to re-think his plans for left-wing-back ahead of the Watford clash, with Jetro Willems also supposedly sidelined for the tie. However, the effects of Ritchie’s injury may go a lot further than just leaving them short at wing-back.
The Scottish winger/wing-back has been a staple of the side over the last few years and his leadership qualities and passion on the pitch have always been clear to see. Losing him could come as a huge blow as not only would the Magpies be losing a top player, but also a leader, and when you’re fighting at the bottom of the table for survival, players like Ritchie are key.