Eddie Howe reveals view on Newcastle United's Matt Ritchie ahead of summer decision

Eddie Howe’s paid tribute to Matt Ritchie for his service to Newcastle United – ahead of a potential move away from the club.

Ritchie joined the club from Bournemouth, where Howe was manager, in 2016 following its relegation from the Premier League.

The winger – who helped the club win the Championship in 2016/17 – was an influential figure on the field during Rafa Benitez’s time as manager.

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However, Ritchie came close to rejoining Bournemouth during Steve Bruce's tenure as head coach, and the 32-year-old has found his opportunities limited this season due to injury and the form of others.

Ritchie – who has a year left on his contract – made what could prove to be his last appearance for the club in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Burnley at Turf Moor.

Asked about Ritchie’s contribution to Newcastle during his six years at St James's Park, head coach Howe said: “Massive. Absolutely humongous what he’s achieved here.

"Leaving me at Bournemouth to come to the team in the Championship, and the role he played in that team, but then his contribution to the Premier League has been immense.”

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While not a regular starter, Ritchie – who has made 188 appearances, and scored 24 goals, for the club – has still played a big part this season, according to Howe.

Newcastle United's Matt Ritchie came off the bench at Turf Moor.Newcastle United's Matt Ritchie came off the bench at Turf Moor.
Newcastle United's Matt Ritchie came off the bench at Turf Moor.

"This season, just speaking on behalf of what he’s given the group, even though he may not have played regularly, behind the scenes he’s just been an unbelievable professional, big voice in the changing room that’s helped unite people,” said Howe. "And he’s played a big part in our fight to stay in the division.”