Winger Matt Ritchie could become Newcastle United’s most important player over the next couple of months.
The Magpies have now found their rhythm after a tough first few months.
Rafa Benitez has masterminded three wins on the spin, and the club have shot up the league table into 13th.
It’s taken a big collective effort from the players to turn things around, with Ki Sung-yueng, Federico Fernandez and Salomon Rondon some of the standout performers in recent weeks.
But one man who could be about to play a big role over the festive period is Ritchie.
Newcastle’s Mr. Stamina
According to Benitez, Ritchie is the fittest player at the club.
He said, as quoted by The Mirror: “He wants to do well and Ritchie is a worker.
“We know he is giving everything in every training session and every game. Sometimes he is doing better or worse but he is a worker.
“He will be ok. The point with him is that he wants to play every game [for] 90 minutes.”
Benitez was referring to Ritchie’s horror miss against Burnley on Monday night, which saw him shoot wide from just two yards.
It was a bad moment for the Scotland international, but the player still has the backing of his manager.
Against the Clarets he ran an impressive 12.4km.
His fantastic energy levels are going to be crucial as games come thick and fast over Christmas. It’ll be important for him to remain on the pitch for the Magpies, as he possesses quality set piece and crossing abilities.