Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce provides fitness update on Matt Ritchie

Matt Ritchie of Newcastle in action during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Southampton at St. James Park on March 10, 2018 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

Newcastle United winger Matt Ritchie could make a comeback to fitness well ahead of schedule.

Newcastle United Head Coach Steve Bruce during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Watford FC at St. James Park on August 31, 2019 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.

Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce has told the Northern Echo that Matt Ritchie has shocked him in training.

Ritchie was expected to be out for a lengthy period of time with injury, but the Newcastle wide-man could well make a swifter recovery than first predicted.

The Scottish international was jogging at the training ground yesterday, as he looks to get back to full fitness.

And Bruce said: “Matt Ritchie being Matt Ritchie is surprising us all. When I looked over today, he was running. He's back on the training ground running in straight lines. I think that's better news.

 

“With Matt, the good thing is it's an impact. If it's muscles, it's always a bit of a problem and ligaments and things like that but he's out on the grass and the progress he's made in two weeks is quite remarkable. I think it could be good news for all of us.

“He doesn't look as if he'll be eight weeks I wouldn't think. The way he is at the minute - we don't put timescales on these things - but closer to four or five weeks might be better.”

Bruce has spoken very positively about Ritchie in the media since taking charge at Newcastle, with the 30-year-old already seemingly winning the faith of the new Magpies boss.

Matt Ritchie of Newcastle in action during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Southampton at St. James Park on March 10, 2018 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

Ritchie’s return to fitness will be a boost for Newcastle, as he has been in solid form since the start of the season.

Ritchie started every one of Newcastle’s matches when fit, with the former Bournemouth man seemingly Bruce’s first choice in the left wing-back role.

With Ritchie sidelined, it seems likely that Jetro Willems will step into Newcastle’s starting line-up.

The summer signing faces a very tough assignment at the weekend, as Newcastle take on Liverpool in their next match.

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