Matt Ritchie spoke to NUFC TV about Miguel Almiron’s performance in the season opening game against Arsenal on Sunday, saying the Paraguayan was “fantastic throughout the whole game”.
He added that the partnership between Almiron and Joelinton is an exciting prospect for everyone at the club, and believes there are positives to take from the defeat.
Fans may see some irony in those comments, with them questioning Ritchie last season, when he seemed reluctant to pass the ball to Almiron time and again, despite the former MLS star making overlapping runs down the wing.
It got to a point where questions were being asked of whether Ritchie and Almiron had a fractious relationship, and did not get along with each other.
It reached a head in April last season, coincidentally, after a defeat at Arsenal, with club ‘insiders’ having to dispel rumours of a problem between the two to the Chronicle.
Certainly there did not seem to be any problems between the two on Sunday, and the Scotland international’s glowing comments about Almiron, would suggest if there had been a problem, it is in the past.
Time for Ritchie to do his talking on the pitch
Ritchie has actually been a revelation in the Newcastle side since his switch to wing-back, and he continued his form on Sunday, having recovered from an injury picked up at Hibernian during pre-season.
But the player has suffered a bit of a backlash from disgruntled fans recently with his comments during a TalkSport interview, when he appeared to back owner Mike Ashley.
It would not be unfair to say, as a result, he now has to do his talking on the football pitch, in order to win over some fans who reacted very angrily on social media.
A fully fit Ritchie is an asset to Newcastle, and his relationship with Almiron could be crucial to any success Newcastle could have this season.