Matt Ritchie has told Sky Sports that he believed his career at Newcastle United was finished before a deadline day U-turn kept him at the club.
Sky Sports claim that the 31-year-old had agreed to seal a January loan move back to Bournemouth, only for Steve Bruce to pull the plug on a deal due to a last minute injury to fellow left-back Jamal Lewis.
This helps explain why Ritchie was denied a return down South and denied a return to the club we signed him from almost five years ago now.
Here’s what he had to say when asked if he had waves goodbye to his NUFC career ahead of the loan move that never was:
“If I’m honest, yes, I thought my Newcastle career was over,”
“As a kid I went on loan as a young age, when I went back to Portsmouth I could’ve stayed there longer but took the decision to move on and go and continue to play. I’ve always backed myself to get back up the leagues.
“It was difficult, it was probably my first spell in my career where I’ve been fully fit and not involved, so that was difficult mentally and physically, how to adapt and adapt my training.
“They’re challenges I’ve not had before.
“It’s about managing your body so you are ready when called upon, training throughout the week at the intensity which is going to be needed for the weekend, and when you’re not involved for a long period that can be difficult.
“I feel like I’ve come through it, learned a lot in the last six months and I’m pleased with how I’ve reacted personally to those challenges.”
Since our U-turn to keep him at the club almost three months ago, he’s had a bust-up with Steve Bruce but responded in style by returning to his starting line up in recent weeks.
It remains to be seen if he’ll secure a move away from St James’ Park this summer, but one thing’s for sure – he’s been a brilliant servant who always gives 110% whenever he pulls on that black and white shirt.