Former Portsmouth favourite Matt Ritchie opens up on his Newcastle situation amid talk of January exit

Matt Ritchie has spoken about his situation at Newcastle amid reports that he is set to leave St James’ Park in January.
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According to the 33-year-old, he still feels a valuable member of the Toon Army first-team squad – despite his lack of game time this season.

And the Gosport-born ace remains happy to fit in to manager Eddie Howe’s plans, whatever they may be, until told otherwise.

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Speculation over the left-sided player’s future has grown in recent weeks after reports emerged that Newcastle were prepared to part ways with Ritchie next month and before his contract runs out next summer.

That’s prompted many Pompey fans to dream of a Fratton Park reunion for the Blues academy graduate.

It also led current Blues boss Danny Cowley to say he believes the Scotland international will finish his career at PO4.

However, with Ritchie making a welcome Premier League return today as an 88th-minute substitute in Newcastle’s 3-0 win at Leicester on Boxing Day, such ambitions are clearly some way off.

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And that’s backed up by the former Fratton favourite sharing his thoughts on his immediate future in the Toon Army’s latest match-day programme – against Bournemouth in midweek.

Newcastle midfielder Matt Ritchie   Picture: Marc Atkins/Getty ImagesNewcastle midfielder Matt Ritchie   Picture: Marc Atkins/Getty Images
Newcastle midfielder Matt Ritchie Picture: Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Speaking about his current place within Howe’s plans, Ritchie said: ‘I’m ready when called upon. I feel like I can bring a lot to the group still, I feel valued within the group, and I’m fit and ready to go, if needed.

‘I’m well aware that the boys have been flying, and times may have changed in terms of what it was for me maybe two years ago at the club.

‘I’m a realist. I understand that my role may have changed within the squad – but I’m all in.’

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The midfielder has spent six years on Tyneside following a £12m move from Bournemouth, making 191 appearances in that time.