Following Saturday’s 1-0 win over Southampton, it’s emerged that Matt Ritchie completed just EIGHT passes during his 60-minute stint on the pitch.
Considering we had 62% possession and had a 10-man Saints side where we wanted them for most of the game, it’s pretty alarming that he came away with a pass accuracy of just 57%.
After Lazaro’s eye-catching display in midweek, many felt Bruce made the wrong decision to start the Scottish international ahead of the Austrian – and those calls were justified in the end.
Saint-Maximin did save his blushes, with his late goal meaning Ritchie’s missed penalty will soon become a distant memory, but the recently wing-back needs to offer much more if he wants to nail down a place in Bruce’s side – especially if he’s planning to be an effective top flight winger again.
His energy and industry are priceless traits we can never take for granted and helped reinvent him as a wing-back last season, but when our style of play in this 4-2-3-1 system appears to be based around pace up top and explosive attacks, I’m not sure where Ritchie fits in?
He’s been handed a new contract extension and can still be a valuable squad member, however I’ll be surprised and slightly frustrated if Bruce doesn’t bring Lazaro back in at Ritchie’s expense next weekend.