Rafael Benitez explains his decision regarding Matt Ritchie

Newcastle United's Matt Ritchie and Huddersfield Town's Chris Lowe in action

Matt Ritchie did not start for Newcastle United against Huddersfield Town in the Championship at the weekend.

Newcastle's Matt Ritchie and Isaac Hayden with referee Simon HooperNewcastle's Matt Ritchie and Isaac Hayden with referee Simon Hooper

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has explained to The Shields Gazette why Matt Ritchie did not start against Huddersfield Town at the weekend.

Ritchie did not start for Newcastle in the Championship game against Huddersfield at St. James’ Park on Saturday afternoon.

The 26-year-old winger came on as a substitute at half time, as the Magpies slumped to a 2-1 home defeat.

The decision not to start the Scotland international will have come as a surprise to some Newcastle fans.

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez during the press conferenceNewcastle United manager Rafael Benitez

Benitez has explained why Ritchie started the match against Huddersfield on the substitutes’ bench.

“He was stiff during the week and he was not training,” Benitez told The Shields Gazette regarding the decision not to start Ritchie against Huddersfield. “But we put him on the bench just in case we needed him.”

“In the end we had to play him,” added the Spaniard. “I am happy, because he was good when he came on, but I’m disappointed because that was something we didn’t want to do. We didn’t want to take the risk. He seems to be fine.”

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez during the press conferenceNewcastle United manager Rafael Benitez

Ritchie joined Newcastle from Premier League club Bournemouth in the summer transfer window.

According to BBC Sport, the Magpies had to pay the Cherries a transfer fee of £12 million to secure the services of the 26-year-old. The winger took two shots and created two chances against Huddersfield.

Newcastle will return to action on Wednesday evening when they take on Reading at St. James’ Park in the Championship. The Magpies have lost both of their league games so far this season.

Newcastle United's Matt Ritchie and Huddersfield Town's Chris Lowe in actionNewcastle United's Matt Ritchie and Huddersfield Town's Chris Lowe in action

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