Newcastle’s Christian Atsu reveals what Matt Ritchie said to him after taking his place at Rotherham

Christian Atsu curls home Newcastle's winner at Rotherham
Christian Atsu curls home Newcastle's winner at Rotherham

Christian Atsu has revealed Matt Ritchie’s message to him after he took his place in Newcastle United’s starting XI.

Atsu scored the club’s winner in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Rotherham United at the AESSEAL New York Stadium after starting ahead of in-form Ritchie in the Championship game.

The 24-year-old took a pass from Jonjo Shelvey on the right before cutting inside and curling a shot beyond Lee Camp in the Rotherham goal for a stunning winner.

It was his first goal since his season-long loan from Chelsea, and he revealed Ritchie had predicted the strike.

“The lads are great, and especially Matt Ritchie,” said Atsu. “We play the same position. Any time he is going to the game, I tell him ‘you are going to score’.

“Today, when I was going to the game, he said ‘you have to score’.

“You can see we are supporting each other and also the fans are great supporters. I could hear them supporting throughout the game.”

Atsu travelled to Ghana yesterday to link up with his international team-mates ahead of Friday’s World Cup qualifier against Uganda.

And games can’t come quick enough for Atsu as he looks to get in peak fitness.

“I fly back to Ghana for World Cup qualification,” said Atsu. “It is our first game.

“I need to keep my legs going and get fit. I need more games. I’m going back to Ghana to work hard.”