Former Aston Villa striker calls out Matt Ritchie over Steve Bruce 'bust-up' at Newcastle United
Former Aston Villa striker Gabby Agbonlahor has hit out at Matt Ritchie for his role in the training ground bust-up with Steve Bruce.
A report from the Daily Mail claims Bruce and Ritchie were involved in an angry training ground exchange earlier this week.
One of the allegations was that the 31-year-old labelled his head coach a “coward”. The club have not commented but it is understood Ritchie has since apologised for the incident and the club are keen to draw a line under it, with the issue now resolved.
Ritchie was said to be angry when Bruce blamed the left-sided player for failing to pass on tactical instructions to his teammates during the 1-1 draw with Wolves on Saturday.
The breakdown in communication – which led to Ruben Neves’ equaliser at St James’s Park – came shortly after Ritchie entered the field as a substitute.
Agbonlahor, who played under Bruce at Villa Park, provided his take on the speculation coming out of the club’s Benton training base.
The 34-year-old told Sky Sports’ Football Show: “There has to be a level of respect for managers, especially a manager like Steve Bruce – he’s done so much in the game and he doesn’t deserve to be called a name like that by any player.
"Matt Ritchie is looking to get back into the team and he is doing himself no favours.
"They’ve got big injuries – (Miguel) Almiron, (Allan) Saint-Maximin – he would have had a chance of maybe starting in the next month, so he has not done himself any favours.
"I’ve heard he has apologised, so he’s just got to hope Steve Bruce can forgive him."
Further reports say Ritchie has apologised to Bruce ahead on Sunday afternoon’s relegation six-pointer with West Bromwich Albion.
He added: “You’ve got to look at how these things leak.
"I’m sure there have been so many bust-ups at clubs and it’s not got out because it stays in the training ground and the manager will sort it out himself.
"He (Bruce) will be angry it’s been leaked but he’ll sort it out and I’m sure he will get him (Ritchie) into the office, they can make up and be an important player for the rest of the season.”