Matt Ritchie has already grabbed four assists this season.

Newcastle have scored 10 goals and three of those have been match winners from Ritchie’s corner kicks.

Rather than it been natural talent, the winger says that it is simply hard work and ‘preparation’ that has led to the success Newcastle have with set-pieces these days, compared to the embarrassingly amateurish efforts of Alan Pardew.

To make sure they are ‘spot on’, Matt Ritchie says the squad work on the set-pieces at least a few times every week.

On a personal level, the Scottish international believes his game has really come on, when working under Eddie Howe and Rafa Benitez.

Ritchie thinks Newcastle have now got ‘a great squad with a lot of potential’ and ‘the future looks bright’.

Matt Ritchie talking to NUFC TV:

“You can look at us in seventh place but is it tight, you need to continue and pick up points or else otherwise you are looking over our shoulder.

“We are taking no notice of the league table, it is where we are come the end of the season that is important.

“We have worked hard in the summer, the group has obviously come together, raised the bar and got better and stronger. Done well so far but need to continue that.

Burnley have shown that it is not just one style (of football) that can have success, it is important that we keep raising the bar.

“Burnley will be trying to improve each year and Sean Dyche is a fantastic manager.

“It (Palace match) wasn’t the prettiest game of football in the world. It was job done for us and it could have gone either way.

“Set-pieces have been good and hopefully we can continue with that because we are picking up points.”

‘How much of the set-piece success is down to natural talent and how much to hard work?’

“I think it is preparation.

“We are all working on delivery and the lads working on getting on the end of them.

“At least a few times a week we try to make sure (in training) that set-pieces are spot on.”

‘You turned 28 last month, are you still improving?’

“I’m learning the game a lot more.

“I have had the luxury of working with Eddie Howe and the gaffer here, two great coaches.

“Hopefully I can still improve.

We have got a great squad with a lot of potential.

“The future looks bright.”

  • Wor Lass

    Ritchie is the model pro. He never stands still, chases down players as though his life depends on it and is constantly talking to his team mates – reminding them about “the plan”, telling them where to cover and who to pick up. He picks up a lot of bookings but that`s just evidence of his total commitment. He`s a great role model for the younger lads and one of the best signings we`ve made for years.

    • Paul Patterson

      A potential captain if Lascelles isn’t fit?

      • Wor Lass

        Definitely – although he might need to modify his normal language to the refs!

  • Wor Lass

    On a lighter note, I`ve just read about people in Gateshead being arrested for people smuggling. Who can blame people for wanting to get out of there!

    • Geordiegiants

      Ha ha lol.

    • Andy Mac

      How bad can life be if you pay a King’s ransom to get yourself smuggled to Gateshead ? Much cheaper to choose the Land that Time forgot as your final destination as they’d never turn anyone away 🤷

      • Wor Lass

        Ah, the Land that Time Forgot. There`s a much smaller version in Lancashire called Barnoldswick!

    • steve pearce

      Actually they were being smuggled into Gateshead. Gateshead Council is facing a record low numbers of tenancies being taken up and there are loads of empty houses so they contracted the people smugglers to nick folk from Jesmond who after being brainwashed and bathed in rancid chip fat will seem quite at home…

      • Wor Lass

        They were obviously in the early stages of training to infiltrate Scumderland.

  • Toonrobbybobson

    Ritchie is such a class act. Love his work ethic it sets the tone and rubs off on the rest of the squad. That is likely the side together with the tactical knowledge than Murphy is having to learn gradually whilst keeping Ritchie on his toes.

    • Down Under Mag

      I think we’ve got a number of players who may not be the best technically but their work ethic and attitude can’t be faulted. Lascelles is leading from the front on this as well as captain and Ritchie is the same…it’s refreshing to see and the first time we’ve had players like this since our last promotion team.

  • Andy Mac

    I dont want prima donna mega stars at NUFC, I do want players like Matt Ritchie though.

    • Down Under Mag

      Hard work and determination is surprisingly effective over pure skill in someone who doesn’t give a toss.

      • Geordiegiants

        Ben Arfa v Ritchie?

  • Toontone A

    Matt Ritchie just proves Bobby right – you can’t buy a player only on ability. His attitude has to be right. His is spot on & deserves all the credit he gets. There’s a lot of players in our squad like that & it’s SO refreshing !!