Date: 23rd January 2017 at 11:40am
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Rafa Benitez is still aiming to bring a winger and midfielder to Newcastle before the transfer window shuts with it anticipated we’ll see some developments this week.

However, in the meantime as he focuses on the players he’s currently got at St James’ Park summer signing from Bournemouth Matt Ritchie has come in for some praise from the boss following his goalscoring performance in the weekend win.

Ritchie scored twice in the 4-0 win over Rotherham – adding to his double in the FA Cup win over Birmingham – with this seeing Rafa praising the Scottish internationals quality and commitment.

He was quoted by Chronicle Live as saying.

‘In any team, to have players with quality and with the commitment that Ritchie has can always make the difference. It depends on the level as to whether you can player higher in the division or not. But the way that he works and the passion that he plays with means he can play in any division.’

The players signed since Premier League relegation have been players that are proven – or at least capable – of playing in the topflight but they also have to be able to perform in the Championship too.

Ritchie isn’t the only player who falls into this bracket though as Dwight Gayle and Isaac Hayden also fit that mould.

‘I will not say that [Ritchie was the most surprising summer signing] because then we could talk about Dwight Gayle, and we would say the same. Those players are both doing really well, but Isaac Hayden is also someone who people were not necessarily aware of his level.’

It had been questioned by some as to why Ritchie dropped down a level to sign for Newcastle with others actually wondering if Rafa had in fact made the right decision to sign the former Portsmouth and Swindon winger?

Rafa concluded his form this season has proven Ritchie’s St James’ arrival was the right move all round.

‘Obviously Ritchie, when I started people were saying: ‘Oh, Rafa doesn`t know the Championship’. But I was talking with a lot of people; talking about a lot of options, of different players, and Ritchie was one of the first names. He is one player that if you sign him, you know you are right.’

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