As confirmed by Alex McLeish, Matt Ritchie has asked to be left out of the Scotland squad for the ‘foreseeable future’ – despite the former Rangers boss wanting him to be involved in their upcoming UEFA Nations League games next week.
McLeish insists that he has not retired, however his decision to withdraw could explain a lot – even if Scotland fans are far from happy..
Ritchie, for the most part, has not looked himself this season to me. We know he’s not blessed with a great deal of pace and instead makes up for that with his incredible energy and work rate, however he’s recently looked quite tired and jaded.
The first half against Watford was an example, with him struggling make any impact at either end of the field, often not having the legs to beat his man in an attacking sense and struggling to get back and support Yedlin defensively.
Here’s what McLeish has had to say about Ritchie today, confirming that he’s asked not to be selected for ‘private’ reasons:
“Matt Ritchie wanted to be left out for the foreseeable future.
“It’s private. It’s not something for me to discuss.
“He had injury issues as well and, again, there is management of his injuries.
“I wanted Matt to come in but he has asked to be left out at the moment.
“He has not retired or anything.
“You don’t know everyone’s private life so you have to respect that.
“I think if you spoke to the people concerned you would be accommodating as well.”
It may be something completely separate, but it would not surprise me if he’s wary of his lack of form at St James’ Park and conscious that his energy levels may be dipping.
We saw Diame take a break from international football and he soon began to pick up his game, so let’s hope this has the same impact on Ritchie – especially when his style of play relies on him being ‘at it’ and giving 110%.
Here’s what some Scottish fans have had to say since the announcement:
Guys like Matt Ritchie should never play for Scotland again but serious questions need tae be asked why so many players are pulling out or don't want to be picked, never got this under Strachan
— Chris Gunn (@Gunnie67) November 7, 2018
Don't think Matt Ritchie is any loss to Scotland but it is worrying that so many are now going down this route.
— McBookie (@McBookie) November 7, 2018
If Matt Ritchie was good enough he'd be English right now.
— Pep Harris (@UglyKidPep) November 7, 2018
Agree. Matt Ritchie, Robert Snodgrass and Tom Cairney should never play for Scotland again. Scotland needs more players like Darren Fletcher who would play for his country no matter what.
— Centre Circle (@CentreCircle3) November 7, 2018
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