Jamie Carragher has singled out Newcastle's Matt Ritchie for praise as the Magpies took a huge step towards Premier League safety with victory over Leicester on Friday night. The 29-year-old provided the assist for Ayoze Perez's 32nd-minute winner at the King Power Stadium.
The winger is enjoying a purple patch of form, having also scored a late equaliser against his former club Bournemouth three games prior. Those goal contributions earned Newcastle a precious four points at the business end of the season.
Sky Sports pundit Carragher pointed out the significance of Ritchie in the build-up to Newcastle's goal and praised his overall contributions since joining the team during his match analysis. The former Liverpool defender was quoted by Nothing But Newcastle as saying:
“The role of Matt Ritchie in that goal…I mean what a signing he has been for Newcastle, they signed him when they were in the Championship, he was the best player in the Championship that year when Newcastle came up.
“This is a man who played right wing for Bournemouth and now a left-wing back, so the discipline the lad has got and he has always just shown the quality he has in abundance."
Newcastle are now 10 points clear of the drop zone although some teams below them have two games in hand over the Magpies. Perhaps more significantly, Newcastle are now just two points shy of that coveted 40 points mark that is believed to ensure Premier League survival.
It's not been an easy campaign for Rafa Benitez and his team but it looks like they are going to reach their goal of surviving the dreaded second-season syndrome.