"Get his head down" - Bruce tells Newcastle ace to move on after failed deal

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Matt Ritchie has been struggling for minutes at Newcastle United this season.

The 31-year-old made his first appearance of the season in the 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur back in September.

A shoulder injury saw him miss the next six games before he returned for the wins over Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion.

Since then, he has played the 90 minutes just twice and has missed all of the club’s last four games, not even being included in the squad against Everton at Goodison Park.

Chronicle Live reports that the club were willing to let him join AFC Bournemouth on transfer deadline day but the deal ultimately collapsed.

The two could not agree a deal to bring the veteran in and he will now be staying at St James’ Park.

And manager Steve Bruce has now urged him to knuckle down as he looks to make an impact between now and the end of the season.

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He said: "Matt has found himself frustrated as he has not played.

"He has not been a regular in the team.

"He had to understand that if it (the move to Bournemouth) did not happen he had to get his head down."

GIVEMESPORT’S Harry Sherlock says…

Ritchie is a versatile presence.

He can play as a full-back on either side of the defence or on either side of midfield.

If the club are to navigate a packed schedule, along with the danger of a pandemic outbreak, they need to keep numbers in their squad.

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Ritchie, of course, may not be playing regularly in the first-team but, ultimately, Bruce needs him on the books.

That’s just the truth of the matter.

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