This Newcastle United player drives everyone 'bonkers'

One player picks himself at Newcastle United – for his energy and “enthusiasm”.

That’s the view of Steve Bruce ahead of the visit of his former club Aston Villa to St James’s Park tomorrow.

Matt Ritchie – who scored in Sunday’s 3-0 home win over Sheffield United – is one of the first names on Steve Bruce’s teamsheet.

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The winger is also one of the most vocal players at the club, and fans watching the behind-closed-doors game without crowd noise could hear him.

“Ritchie picks himself,” said head coach Bruce. “He drives people bonkers and plays with enthusiasm. He’s a great pro. His fitness levels are terrific. We changed him to the left. He scored a goal and made one, and we were delighted.”

Ritchie, signed from Bournemouth in 2016, was asked about his shouts after the game.

“Yeah, I realise anyone watching on telly without the crowd noise will have heard me,” said winger Ritchie, who signed a new deal at St James’s Park earlier this year. No one should be surprised about that. Everyone has their own way, We have many leaders in our squad, but I have my own way of leading – and yes, it’s loud!”

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Meanwhile, Bruce is expecting a “very difficult” game against second-bottom Villa, his former club.

Steve Bruce with his players.Steve Bruce with his players.
Steve Bruce with his players.

“They will do everything to keep Premier League survival,” said Bruce. “It’s vital to keep yourself in the Premier League. It’ll be difficult – it’s a very difficult game.”

Matt Ritchie.Matt Ritchie.
Matt Ritchie.