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Scouting report - Darren Anderton on Matt Ritchie

Posted on 10 August 2017  - 15:30

We've introduced a new feature for the 2017-18 season, 'Scouting Report', where we'll ask Spurs legends, pundits and experts in the media to give us the lowdown on a key player we're about to face. It's the big kick-off so first up in the Premier League, our legendary former midfielder Darren Anderton takes a look at Newcastle United playmaker and goalscorer Matt Ritchie.

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anderton250Darren Anderton

- 299 Premier League appearances for Spurs, 1992-2004
- League Cup winner 1999
- Capped 30 times by England and played at Euro 96 and 1998 World Cup
- Ended career at Bournemouth, aged 36

Matt Ritchie 

Age: 27
Previous clubs: Portsmouth, Dagenham & Redbridge (loan), Notts County (loan), Swindon, Bournemouth
Position: Attacking midfielder
Last season: 48 games in all competitions (16 goals) including 42/12 as Newcastle won the Championship

Below: Ritchie slots a penalty home against Birmingham  

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Darren Anderton: "Funnily enough, Matt came to Bournemouth for a spell on loan from Portsmouth when I was still playing (Darren finished his career at Bournemouth in 2008), so I saw him up close. He’s a player with plenty of confidence, bags of ability and he’s come on unbelievably well. I was a little surprised he left Bournemouth (at the end of 2015-16), to be honest, but Newcastle is a massive club and they are now back in the Premier League.

"What I like most about him is that he makes things happen, crosses, shots, he’s very direct. His career has always been on the upward curve. He’s got the confidence to try things. He believes in himself and that is one of his great strengths. He’s rarely fazed by anything – playing in the Premier League, playing in big games, now he’s a regular Scotland international as well – and when you look at players who might be a danger at St James Park, he’s certainly one.

Below: Ritchie celebrates a big win at Brighton in February

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"His greatest strength is his sheer quality on the ball. He has bags of ability and makes things happen. He has a great left peg. Some players flatter to deceive, they might beat a player and then the final ball isn’t good enough, but he’s got that, it’s what he’s all about. He produces when he gets into the final third.

"He’ll be important for Newcastle. He creates goals, he scores goal and that’s what teams need. It’s okay coming into the Premier League and trying to defend and nick points here and there, but you have to go out and try to win games. That’s what Bournemouth have done in the last two seasons (11 wins in 15-16, 12 in 16-17) and he will be very important for Newcastle, no doubt."