Newcastle United midfielder Sean Longstaff has revealed that Matt Ritchie has played an important role in his development. In an interview with NUFC TV, Longstaff admitted that Ritchie helped keep him grounded when there were transfer rumours flying about in the summer.
Longstaff, 21, burst onto the scene last season and there was suddenly lots of talk about him. Despite playing less than 20 senior games for Newcastle, he was tipped for England and a big summer move.
Naturally, for a young player, he was unsettled by his rapid rise to stardom. But Newcastle team-mate Ritchie has helped him cope with the added media attention since his first-team breakthrough.
“I speak to Matty Ritchie a lot, he’s someone I lean on in the squad,” Ritchie told NUFC TV (on the club’s website). “He tends to keep us grounded and he’s always there with good bits of advice.”
It is clear from Longstaff’s comments that Ritchie plays an important and underrated role on and off the pitch. Ritchie is vocal, popular and wise, as well as being a model professional. During his time at Newcastle, he has never complained about his job, even when he has been forced into a wing-back role.
In an age of money-chasing mercenaries, it is refreshing to see that players like Ritchie are still around. Longstaff will go a long way in the game if he heeds the advice of his senior team-mate.