Newcastle winger Matt Ritchie has pulled out of the Scotland squad due to injury, BBC Sport have revealed.
Ritchie played the first 87 minutes on Friday night in the 1-0 defeat to Costa Rica.
After the game their was no indication either way as to why he was taken off, no specific mention of any injury issues.
However, Monday morning has seen confirmation that Matt Ritchie will head to Tyneside rather than playing Hungary this week.
No details as to the exact nature of the injury, nor with former Newcastle defender Grant Hanley and Man Utd’s Scott McTominay who have also pulled out due to injury issues.
Ironically, this weekend there was a big interview published with Matt Ritchie (see below), where he spoke after being recalled to a Scotland squad for the first time since Autumn 2016.
The player explaining that ahead of an operation last summer, he had only been able to play throughout Newcastle’s promotion season by having painkilling injections due to a hernia problem.
Matt Ritchie saying an important part of managing that injury was staying with Newcastle rather than the added demands of playing for his country as well…
Friday night against Costa Rica was his first Scotland start in 17 months.
BBC Sport today (Monday 26 March):
‘Scott McTominay, Matt Ritchie and Grant Hanley have pulled out of the Scotland squad to face Hungary due to injuries.
The trio all featured as the Scots lost 1-0 to Costa Rica at Hampden on Friday night in Alex McLeish’s first match in charge since returning as national boss.
They will not, however, travel to Budapest for Tuesday’s friendly.
Manager McLeish is not expected to call any replacements into his squad at this stage.
Manchester United midfielder McTominay made his Scotland debut in Friday’s defeat, while Newcastle United winger Ritchie and Norwich City defender Hanley also started the match at Hampden.’
Matt Ritchie talking to the Scotsman in an interview published at the weekend:
“I had been playing [at Newcastle] for probably around three or four months really struggling and I tailored my training. It was sore but I’m fully fit now, that’s in the past and hopefully the future can be more successful.
“I didn’t feel completely forgotten [by Scotland] as I had to pull out through injury.
“I was playing week in, week out for my club and doing well. It was more down to the fact I was playing with injections for most of last season to get through the pain barrier.
“It was about managing my body. At the time it was about promotion to the Premier League and whether I risked coming away [with Scotland] and getting injured.
“I made the decision to get treatment back at Newcastle and used the time to get ready for the next game.
“That wasn’t me choosing Newcastle over Scotland. It was about managing my body and not wanting to break down. As soon as the season finished I went straight in for the hernia operation. Now I feel all good.
“A much needed result [recently] and great to beat Man United. It certainly lifted spirits at Newcastle.
“It has been a real learning curve for me personally. His [Rafa Benitez’] record speaks for itself.
“The attention to detail we get given is incredible. He has certainly improved me as a player. I feel like I have developed under him.
“I really enjoyed playing the No.10 role for the first time when we played Antwerp. Most of the time I have been playing out wide and really enjoy it. I will play anywhere on the pitch but my position is a wide man, either left or right. The last few years I have played more on the right and enjoyed it.
“Newcastle is a massive club and playing in front of 52,000 week in week out, it’s fantastic. The fans have been fantastic with us since day one. I started quite well and that always helps with a few goals. It’s been a real successful period in my career.
“Yes, it’s a risk to leave Bournemouth because together we had a fantastic group of players, staff – a real family club and a great feeling about the place.
“To leave Bournemouth where I only live half an hour down the road, it was a tough decision but I wanted to test myself and play in front of a big crowd and I have no regrets. I’m really enjoying it and hopefully we can get safe and build on that.”