Matt Ritchie is in line to return to action before the end of the month and his dramatic recovery from a seemingly serious injury has left Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce gobsmacked, as reported by the Chronicle.
The Scottish winger looked set for eight weeks on the sidelines after he was clattered by the always combative Hamza Choudhury during a Carabao Cup second round clash against Leicester City at the end of August.
Bruce described the tackle as a ‘horror challenge’, while speaking to the Guardian, and insisted that Ritchie’s knee had been left in a ‘mess’.
But, just a fortnight on, the former Wigan and Birmingham boss has revealed that the versatile 30-year-old could be back quicker than anyone had expected, even if this weekend’s clash with Premier League challengers Liverpool will come too soon.
"Matt Ritchie has been quite remarkable in his recovery. He’s shocked us all,” Bruce said.
"But the way he trained yesterday and the day before, as long as he doesn't have any reaction, he is not far away. It still could be a couple of weeks."
If there is one positive to come out of Ritchie’s injury, it’s that it has opened the door for summer signing Jetro Willems to adapt to life in English football after his loan move to St James’ Park from Eintracht Frankfurt.
The Dutch international, who once formed a formidable partnership with Magpies flop Luuk de Jong at PSV Eindhoven, has a left foot to rival anyone outside of the top six and should provide plenty of pinpoint crosses for new record signing Joelinton – which could be Newcastle’s best route to a goal against Liverpool at Anfield.
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