Matt Ritchie Q&A
1. What's it like to represent your national side?
To represent Scotland was an honour of course to play international football for any player is a dream. To be given that opportunity to play on the biggest stage was great!
2. When you were a young player did you ever think you would be an established Premier League star playing for such a big club like Newcastle Utd?
Growing up I always believed in myself and my ability, like any player some people told me I was good enough and some told me I wasn’t but deep down I always knew I had to make the best of the tools I had and make sure I fulfilled any potential I had. I had set backs and disappointments but I used them as positives and they always gave me more desire to achieve my goals.
3. Describe what it was like as a young player coming through the ranks at Portsmouth during the huge financial turmoil that was going on?
Coming through at Pompey for a Portsmouth boy was great! I loved every minute of it. To come through the youth system and to be pals with the same lads for so many years it was brilliant! To this day my scholarship years were the best years of my life, so enjoyable. Striving for a career with your mates all together wanting the same thing. Messing about at the training ground, head tennis, table tennis, rumbles with big Kev. They were enjoyable times.
4. What has been your career high to date?
The best moments in my career so far was probably as a whole being promoted with AFC Bournemouth to the Premier League. The way we played throughout that season, total football! Everyone involved at the club had so much belief and passion for what we were trying to achieve. It was a special place at a special time and a season I’ll never forget.
5. 29 is still a young age but have you made any plans for once youíve hung your boots up?
Yes I’ve just turned 29 but I feel I’m certainly still in my prime and have a lot to give. I feel I now make better decisions with my experience. Looking to the future I have always from a young age tried to plan ahead knowing football won’t last forever. I have been purchasing buy-to-let property and it’s something I’m really interested in so hopefully when I do stop playing, if I decide to come away from the game I’ll be able to proceed in that field. Although I feel at the moment I want to become a manager.
6. Who is the best player you've ever played against?
The best player I would have to say Kevin de Bruyne. He has been the best player in the Premier League for the last 2 years without question.
7. If you had to pick one song to play in the dressing room before a game what would it be?
Dressing room music if not my bag, I leave that to someone else. If I had my way we’d have Jimmy Nail or Lighthouse Family on.
8. What advice would you give to any young player looking to break into the first team?
For young players it’s always been tough to break into first teams and even more so now as the amount of money and business that’s involved in football is only going one way. For this reason it makes it harder for managers to take chances. My advice to a young player would be stay patient and believe in you ability, if that means you have to take a step backwards to prove yourself to get a chance at a higher level then that maybe the way.
9. Describe what the rivalry is like between Newcastle and Sunderland
The rivalry is massive, in my time I’ve not actually had the pleasure of playing in a derby but from being in the city and around Geordies a lot and one day I’d love to be involved in one.