No emotional Portsmouth homecoming for Gosport son just yet after Newcastle opt to keep former Swindon man
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The 33-year-old has long voiced his desire to return to the club he supports before the end of his playing days.
That ambition has now been put back by another 12 months after Newcastle this week opted to activate a club option.
It ensures that Ritchie, who was out of contract this summer and eyeing alternative destinations, remains with the Toon until the summer of 2024.
That’s despite being handed just 33 minutes in the Premier League last season – and 10 appearances overall.
It’s testament to the respect Eddie Howe has for the ex-Pompey man, who was recruited by Rafa Benitez in July 2016 for £12m.
At the time a Championship side, Ritchie has gone on to total 198 appearances and score 24 times as left-sided winger or wing-back.
Howe, of course, knows the Gosport lad well from managing him at Bournemouth and already spoken of his important dressing room influence.
In May, Newcastle’s boss told The Northern Echo: ‘Matty still has a very strong desire to play. I see that with how he trains. His personality around the place is very positive, he's high energy, he has a lot of energy to give.
‘He's controlled himself and managed that energy brilliantly this year, he's trained harder than probably any other player because that's his expression of that energy.
‘He's been hugely important behind the scenes, he's a really good role model for the younger players, how to conduct yourself and how to act. He's used his leadership really effectively.
‘I would love him to continue his journey with Newcastle next year but there will be conversations to take place before that happens.’
In reality, Ritchie’s return to Fratton Park would never have happened this summer, even if Newcastle had decided against retaining him.
It is understood the veteran was keen to remain in the Premier League or drop into the Championship rather than relocate to League One at this stage of his career.
Yet it remains the midfielder’s ambition to one day reunite with the club he holds dear to his heart and left in January 2011 after 10 appearances.