'He’s a bit unloved' – former Sunderland defender backs Newcastle United midfielder's career decision
Former Sunderland, Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur defender Alan Hutton believes Matt Ritchie felt “a bit unloved” while with Scotland – and he’s backed the Newcastle United man calling time on his international career.
Hutton is a former teammate of Hampshire-born Ritchie at international level and speaking to Football Insider believes he “would run through a brick wall” for the country of his father. But Hutton maybe feels the Magpies midfielder wasn’t always appreciated by the Scotland hierarchy – and it showed.
“I’ve obviously played alongside him, I think he’s a fantastic player. So much energy, willing runner, run through a brick wall for you and quality so I know what he can give,” said Hutton.
“He obviously feels he’s a bit unloved when he goes up there, he doesn’t play all the time. Maybe he feels he can offer more but he feels he’s not getting the chance.
“When you get to a certain age, then you start thinking: ‘What am I going to put forward? I’ve got my family here, I’ve got Scotland there, I’m not really playing there so I’d rather use the days for X, Y and Z.’
“I did the same thing so I’m not going to sit here and say he made the wrong decision but I think when you start to get to that age, that’s the way you start thinking.”
Ritchie has been out injured since September with an ankle problem – but hopes are high he could return after the international break.