Rafael Benitez sings the praises of Newcastle United's Matt Ritchie

Newcastle's Matt Ritchie scores their second goal from the penalty spot

Matt Ritchie was brought to Newcastle United from Bournemouth last summer.

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez

Rafael Benitez has told the Chronicle that Matt Ritchie is a great example for the rest of Newcastle United’s squad.

Ritchie was brought to Newcastle from Bournemouth last summer, and he has made an immediate impression at St. James’ Park.

The Scottish international has caught the eye through his energetic performances, and Benitez has been impressed by the 27-year-old’s attitude off the pitch.

Newcastle's Matt Ritchie scores their second goal from the penalty spot

“He’s a great example for the others in terms of his attitude in the way he approaches every training session and every game,” Benitez said.

“He is desperate to play. He puts me under pressure, but it’s nice pressure.”

Ritchie was deemed unfit to play in Newcastle’s most recent match against Brentford by the North East side’s medical staff.

Newcastle's Matt Ritchie in action with Aston Villa's Jordan Amavi

Ritchie was suffering with illness, but he fought to try and make the match day squad.

In the end, Benitez listened to the club’s doctors and left Ritchie out - which turned out to be a good decision, as Newcastle picked up a 3-1 victory.

Ritchie could come back into the Magpies’ team when they play against Barnsley this evening.

If Newcastle can get the victory at Oakwell, they could move to the top of the Championship table.

Scotland's Matt Ritchie celebrates scoring their first goal

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