One to watch #73: Matt Ritchie

By Dan Buxton
Last updated : 04 January 2011

Name:  Matt Ritchie

Date of Birth:  10/9/89

Position: Left Winger

Club:  Swindon Town (on loan from Portsmouth)

Previous clubs: Dagenham & Redbridge, Notts County

International caps:  None

Ritchie began his career playing for his local team Gosport Borough
before joining Portsmouth’s academy at the age of 13. Ritchie
graduated from the academy and was offered his professional contract
at Portsmouth in 2008. After an impressive pre-season with the first
team (including a hat trick against old club Gosport Borough) Ritchie
was sent for a trial with Bournemouth, hoping to clinch a loan deal
and provide him with first team experience.  Ritchie impressed during
his trial but was kept at Portsmouth due to a midfield injury crisis.
That season he was named as a home grown player in Portsmouth’s UEFA
Cup squad, he became a regular for the reserve and academy sides and
was sent to League Two in September 2008, on a one month load with
Dagenham & Redbridge. Ritchie made his Football League debut on the
27th of September 2008 as a late substitute against Rotherham United.
Ritchie quickly made an impact at the club and Daggers boss John Still
quickly became a fan and managed to extend his loan until the end of
the season.  Ritchie had a fine season with The Daggers and was
rewarded with a  2 year contract at Portsmouth as well as picking up
their ‘Young Player of The Year’ award.

The following season Ritchie joined Notts County on loan after talks
of a six figure deal broke down.  County made several attempts to make
the move permanent but failed and in February 2010 he moved to Swindon
for the remainder of the season.  However another injury crises at
Portsmouth meant that his loan spell at Swindon ended after just one
month as he was recalled and named on the bench for a 2-0 loss to
Tottenham Hotspur.  In April 2010 Ritchie made his Premier League
debut for Portsmouth, playing nearly 80 minutes against Wigan.

After Portsmouth’s relegation from the Premier League, Ritchie was
handed the number 5 shirt and started their first match in the
Championship, but quickly found himself out of Steve Cotterill’s first
team plans. For financial reasons Pompey had to disband it’s reserve
team so Ritchie was sent on loan to Swindon where he will sign
permanently in the next few days.  Pompey fans have had high hopes for
Ritchie but Cotterill see’s no future for the former Young Player of
The Year. Cotterill recently said “Matt Ritchie's move to Swindon will
become permanent in January.  I've been down to him and tried to
picture whether he would be good enough to play in the Championship.
The answer to that is no”  Luckily for Ritchie, it is common knowledge
amongst Stoke fans that Cotterill doesn’t know his arse from his
elbow, meaning Ritchie should welcome the move and hope to one day
prove Quiterill wrong.

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