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Newcastle midfielder Ritchie: The Portsmouth player who changed my thinking

Newcastle United midfielder Matt Ritchie admits playing with Michael Brown at Portsmouth inspired him to do more with young players.

Speaking about his Premier League debut at Portsmouth as a 20-year-old, Ritchie recounts how the support of midfielder Brown has stuck with him, and that he tries to tries to pass that level of relationship on to younger players at United.

"I was nervous, but I remember I did something early on and Michael Brown screaming “excellent Matt, excellent!"," he told Portsmouth News.

"Things like that you remember, and, since that day, I've got to be honest, I've taken that on board and tried to do the same.

"I remember going into the gym with Browny over the years for many sessions with me, Wardy (Joel Ward) and (fitness coach) Chris Neville.

"They are vivid memories and I have appreciated them throughout my whole career.

"I think about things like that daily when I'm in the gym with young players.

"I try to have the same influence Browny had on me because it's players like that who set the example.

"I think he was usually only in there because he was waiting for his flight back to Manchester! Really, though, I appreciate those moments.

"I look back now and they are the small things which helped and created a work ethic in me to take me to the Premier League.

"Matty Taylor was my absolute idol. I've got his (sponsors) Ty shirt with “thanks for doing my boots written on it".

"I've still got that today and cherish it. He was my idol, left-footed and I loved him.

"People like him gave me the time of day. That was special and played a part in who I am today. I try to help the younger lads in the same way I was guided by good people."


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