Rafa Benitez assistant, Ian Cathro, says that Scottish international Matt Ritchie ‘truly saw the potential of Newcastle United’.

Ritchie is away with Scotland for a vital World Cup qualifier against Malta and Cathro says that the Scottish international ‘can be a real driving force’ for Newcastle United.

Speaking about the winger’s decision to drop into the Championship, Rafa’s assistant says that ‘it takes a very strong man to make that choice’.

As for the player himself, after joining Newcastle, Matt Ritchie said:

“When a club like Newcastle is interested, I wanted to pursue it – I’m delighted to be here, it is a fantastic club.”

That kind of talk is of course in marked contrast to some of the players who have jumped ship this summer.

Whilst the likes of Wijnaldum and Sissoko aren’t exactly popular on Tyneside, you can at least see why they thought Spurs and Liverpool could be a better chance of doing well in these next few years.

However, with Daryl Janmaat and in particular, Andros Townsend, it is remarkable they couldn’t see the potential of what could happen under Rafa Benitez at Newcastle United and both players themselves, have even said they expect NUFC to be back in the Premier League this time next year.

Ian Cathro speaking to the Sunday Herald:

“Matt Ritchie truly saw the potential of Newcastle United, the potential of the moment we are in.

“Progress needs to take place, growth needs to take place but ultimately the potential is here and he is strong enough to say that ‘I will go there and lift it back up’.

“Matt is strong-minded and very clear in what he wants to achieve, he is an ambitious guy.

“It takes a very strong man to make that choice and I’m very respectful of Matt for that.

“He can be a real great driving force for us as he has good game intelligence and thinks about football.

“When you add up those things he is definitely someone who can play an influential role for the team.

 “I’m working under a top class manager (Rafa) who has an excellent staff which I have been welcomed as part of.

“They all have specific roles and tasks so there are a lot of lessons for leadership and how the manager guides the entire football club.”

“That (becoming a manager) is something which will happen (for me), when I don’t know, it will depend on making the right step at the right moment but there’s no rush aspect to it right now.”