The Daily Mail have ran a story about Matt Ritchie, and his international future with Scotland.
Craig Hope’s exclusive says that Ritchie has informed Scotland boss Steve Clarke that he has officially retired from international football at the age of 30, after winning 15 caps.
Ritchie informed former manager Alex McLeish back in November of last year, that he didn’t want to be considered for selection, citing family reasons and also wanting to concentrate on his Newcastle career.
At the time McLeish denied that Ritchie had officially retired, but it seems that this time it’s not a temporary decision.
Ritchie’s family are located down in Hampshire, and the former Bournemouth winger has reportedly told Clark he wants to use the international break to spend time with his family.
There’s also the matter of his Newcastle future being far from certain, with Hope also reporting that he wants to see some of Scotland’s promising young talents get their chance instead.
While he has been an outstanding signing for us, and is a huge character in the dressing room, he only has 18 months left on his contract, so maybe it is time he focused on his club career to earn an extension.
There have been rumours of him being in talks over a new deal, but nothing has been agreed yet. He’s been the subject of transfer speculation in the last two summers, when Rafa Benitez was reportedly ready to sell him to finance a move to bring Andros Townsend back.
He’s been out of the team since a horror tackle from Leicester’s Hamza Choudhury back in August left him with ligament damage and needing stitches, and Hope’s report also states he is determined to fight for his Newcastle future.
It’s going to be hard to see Ritchie regain his place in the team following the frankly brilliant form of Jetro Willems at LWB, but I don’t think there is a single Newcastle fan out there who wouldn’t want him to sign a new deal.
Hopefully we will reap the benefits of his international retirement, and it will be great to have him back available again soon.