After arriving from Bournemouth in 2016, Matt Ritchie enjoyed a fantastic debut campaign under Rafa Benitez.
However, since returning to the top-flight, the ex-Bournemouth man has become a selfless utility player.
In the aforementioned Championship campaign, our No.11 made 45 appearances at right-midfield. His only other outings away from that role came on the opposite side, playing three games on the left.
Following that season, the 31-year-old became a makeshift full-back, appearing 31 times at left-back and once at right-back. He excelled due to his attitude and application, although a recent update may mean he can focus on returning to his natural role.
Jamal Lewis’ arrival from Norwich in a £15 million deal has handed Steve Bruce a fresh, glitzy option in that role. It had previously been shared between Paul Dummett, Ritchie and Jetro Willems, but now we appear to have a potential regular in that role.
This should allow the versatile Scotsman to focus on resurrecting his career as an attacker. He can comfortably hand over his left-back duties to the new recruit, and hopefully we can see him smashing the goals in up top once again and creating them as well.
Let’s just hope that doesn’t lead to more corner flags being kicked into the Toon Army’s nether regions!