The last season Matt Ritchie was in the Championship (2014/15), he was involved in an incredible 33 goals for Bournemouth.
The south coast club’s promotion was in a large part down to the winger’s impressive 15 goals and 18 assists, Matt Ritchie featuring in every one of the club’s 46 Championship games.
Saturday saw Ritchie score his first goal (watch all six goals here) in Newcastle colours, also the first goal of the United first team’s pre-season.
Newcastle hammering Bohemian FC 6-0 and the former Bournemouth player scoring a cracking left foot effort into the top corner.
Matt Ritchie knows that there are expectations on him and he has been brought in to both score goals and create, though he thinks there are many factors that will help him, saying ‘The quality we’ve got within the group is fantastic’.
Ritchie believes that despite the lowly opposition, Newcastle ‘can only beat what’s put in front of you’ and that despite a difficult pitch the team ‘moved the ball quite well’.
Last summer, any fan who expressed worries about the pre-season performances was shouted down. The truth was though that whilst the actual results aren’t that important, the way the team were playing should have had the warning bells ringing for Steve McClaren and everybody else at the club.
Just like this summer, Newcastle had a programme of matches against lower ranked teams (exception being Borussia Monchengladbach) and looked absolutely dreadful most of the time, often struggling to create any chances or indeed register man goals.
Whilst I don’t expect it to be as easy or Newcastle to quite score half a dozen against the likes of Doncaster and Southend, I do feel that the team are far better prepared and with signings in place early, the team can show some really solid and exciting form ahead of the Championship kick-off.
Matt Ritchie talking to the official club website:
“It was a good test and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
“You can only beat what’s put in front of you and, on a tricky pitch, I thought we moved the ball quite well.
“I was really pleased to score and delighted with the finish. Hopefully there’s a few more of them to come – that’s the plan!
“Goals give you confidence, and goals and assists are what the gaffer’s brought me in for, so I’ll be looking to supply that.
“But there were some good goals out there throughout the team.
“The quality we’ve got within the group is fantastic. We’ve got a solid base and some flair up front as well, so hopefully we can continue as we’ve set off today and build up nicely to the start of the season.
“There were a fair few fans and they were pretty vocal, which was fantastic.
“It was great to see them and we’re going to need all their support this season. If they were that good for a friendly then I can’t wait to hear them at our first league game.”