Newcastle United are currently without Matt Ritchie due to injury, and manager Eddie Howe has provided an update on the 33-year-old.
The midfielder hasn’t been seen since the 1-1 draw with Bournemouth. Ritchie was on the bench that day, which has been a regular occurance for him this season.
He has been limited to just two appearances, with only one coming in the Premier League. That came at Molineux, where he was a last minute substitute.
Ritchie’s one and only start came in the League Cup, starting on the right wing in the 2-1 victory over Tranmere Rovers.
But he has completely missed the wins over Fulham and Brentford due to injury, and his layoff might not be ending any time soon.
Howe on Ritchie injury
Howe has spoke to the press ahead of the game against Manchester United. He provided an update on Ritchie’s fitness, and it’s not good news for the 33-year-old.
“Matt picked up a calf problem,” Howe said.
“We don’t know whether he’ll be back before the World Cup but he’s doing well.”
Big blow for Ritchie
Ritchie will be gutted if he is out of action until after the World Cup. That means he could miss another seven games before returning.
Newcastle’s final game before the tournament in Qatar is on November 12th against Chelsea. The Magpies then don’t play again until Boxing Day when they face Leicester on December 26th.
Ritchie will no doubt be doing his best to return before the World Cup. He will be keen to get some minutes under his belt before the January transfer window, and was likely eyeing up an appearance in the Carabao Cup. Newcastle are set to face Crystal Palace on November 9th.
The former Bournemouth player has an interesting role at St James’ Park nowadays. He is no longer a key player on the pitch. He sadly isn’t quick enough to play out wide in attack, nor is he defensively astute enough to play at fullback.
However, he is important enough to be kept in the squad. Ritchie is and has always been a leader for Newcastle, and considered a vital part of the dressing room. That is why he stayed at the club this summer when so many others were moved on.
Ritchie’s presence is important to Howe, who called him ‘integral‘ at the end of last season. Howe will be keen to get his lieutenant back before the World Cup. However, there is a possibility that might not be possible.