This is why Newcastle United's Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle led the way under Eddie Howe

Eddie Howe has hailed the professionalism of Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle – ahead potential exits.
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Ritchie and Gayle, signed in the summer of 2016 following the club’s relegation to the Championship, are expected to leave Newcastle United this summer.

The pair found their opportunities limited under Howe and his predecessor Steve Bruce last season, but they were still high up a training ground performance leaderboard.

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“It stands for how professional they are, and how good the group has been behind the scenes,” said head coach Howe. “That's why I keep going back to that, because your training ground environment’s so important. You can't have just 11 players in a good place, and then 11 players bringing that standard down in terms of attitude, behaviour or quality.

“I've got to say everyone has lifted each other, so we've had a very very good group here, and Dwight and Matt and probably the others that I've missed have played a huge part in that.”