Read how Matt Ritchie's phenomenal work ethic is rubbbing off on Newcastle's young players

Callum Roberts says he's had to 'up his game' after being promoted to Rafa Benitez's first-team squad at Newcastle United.

Wednesday, 1st August 2018, 6:00 am
Matt Ritchie. (Pic: Stephen Dobson)

The winger – who has featured in all three of the club’s pre-season friendlies – hopes to play against Braga tonight.

And Roberts feels he’s already a better player after training and playing alongside the club’s senior players.

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“Looking at player like Matt Ritchie, you don’t really see how hard he works on a day-to-day basis,” said the 21-year-old.

“But when you train with him, you see it every day.

“It’s a massive step up in level from the Under-18s and the Under-23s.

“It makes you realise you need to up your game a lot more, whether that’s in the gym or on the pitch, because they’re non-stop.

Matt Ritchie. (Pic: Stephen Dobson)

“Everybody knows you need to work hard, but to make the step up you’ve got to work even harder.

“It’s good for me, Sean (Longstaff), Victor (Fernandez), Jamie (Sterry) and Adam (Armstrong) to be around the first team and strive to get into it.”

Roberts had a spell on loan at Kilmarnock the season before last, and he’s desperate for more first-team football.

“We’ll see what happens in the next few weeks, but the main target now is to play games at a high level,” he said.

“That’s what I need to do, because the last couple of seasons haven’t really gone as well as I wanted them to.

“But this year I think I can do well.

“We’ll see what the manager says and see what happens.”