Eddie Howe’s relationship with Matt Ritchie continues to be strong to the point where the Newcastle United manager hopes he can convince the 33-year-old to stay on Tyneside next season.

Speculation surrounding Matt Ritchie‘s future at Newcastle is nothing new with conflicting reports on his future hitting the media since last year. One minute he’s been told he can leave and the next he’s integral to the side.

Eddie Howe has now shed some light on the situation saying (via The Northern Echo): “I’ve had various discussions with Matt throughout the season.

Eddie Howe has hailed Ritchie has ‘incredible’

“First and foremost, he’s been very committed to Newcastle and to the team and the aims of this season.

“I’ve said that I desperately want to keep him next year. He has had issues surrounding his family, and the distance between him and them is never easy when you’ve got young children. When you’re a parent, that distance is tough at times. But Matt’s been exceptional and I certainly hope he stays for next year.”

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Ritchie has been at the club since he joined for £10million from Bournemouth in 2016 and was key to Newcastle regaining promotion back out of the Championship, going on to become an integral part of the squad.

Howe’s admiration for Ritchie is well documented with the former Bournemouth gaffer recently calling him ‘incredible‘.

Ritchie should go on to become a coach at Newcastle alongside Howe

I’ve said for a while that Ritchie would make a brilliant coach, his passion and energy are perfect for the role, and maybe that’s what Howe sees in him too. Howe likes having him around the dressing room, so maybe he’s hoping to retain Ritchie in a more behind-the-scenes role.

After all, Ritchie has only managed just over 200 minutes of game time in all competitions this season, so he’s hardly a key man on the field.

That being said, family comes first and if the former Scotland international feels he has to move on for the sake of his family, then we can hardly begrudge him that.

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