Rafa Benitez reveals what next for Newcastle United’s Matt Ritchie

Matt Ritchie will again be winging it soon at Newcastle United – thanks to the arrival of Antonio Barreca.

Matt Ritchie and Rafa Benitez.
Matt Ritchie and Rafa Benitez.

Ritchie has been fielded as a left wing-back over the past five weeks during Paul Dummett’s absence through injury.

The winger, however, is likely to be pushed upfield for the rest of the campaign.

Benitez – who hopes to have Dummett back for Monday night’s game against Wolverhampton Wanderers – signed attacking left-back Barreca from Monaco in last month’s transfer window.

The 23-year-old’s arrival allowed Jacob Murphy to be loaned to Championship club West Bromwich Albion on deadline day.

“We decided to let Murphy go on loan because of that,” said Benitez.

Barreca was brought in to compete with Dummett, who has been restricted to 14 Premier League starts this season by injuries.

Benitez has been looking for another left-back for the past two years.

United’s manager believes that Barreca is suited to playing as a wing-back.


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“With Barreca, we have another chance to play with a left wing-back, which means that Ritchie can play as a winger,” said Benitez.

“Maybe he can continue as a wing-back if we need him to, but at least we have more options and that is always good, because it gives us more competition.”

Meanwhile, Benitez is also hopeful that midfielders Mohamed Diame and Ki Sung-yueng will be fit to face Wolves Jonjo Shelvey, sidelined for the past month, is not expected to be ready in time for the game.