Matt Ritchie: Newcastle winger apologises following training ground dispute with Steve Bruce

Matt Ritchie was involved in a training ground dispute with Steve Bruce; the 31-year-old has apologised; Ritchie came in for criticism following Wolves' equaliser against Newcastle in their 1-1 draw on Saturday

Steve Bruce during Wolves match 4:56
Jamie Carragher explains how a communication mix-up affected the Newcastle team's shape in the match against Wolves.

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce was involved in a training ground dispute with Matt Ritchie this week, Sky Sports News has confirmed. 

Ritchie has apologised after a report in The Daily Mail claimed he called his manager "a coward".

Sky Sports News has been told Ritchie was unhappy that Bruce appeared to blame him for Wolves' equaliser on Saturday, by not getting tactical instructions on to his team-mates quickly enough when he came on as a second-half substitute.

Bruce told Sky Sports on Saturday: "Unfortunately Matty didn't get the directions on quick enough, the instructions of how we were doing it [making the change]. We'll have to concede that one and make sure we do our instructions from the sideline."

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the draw between Newcastle and Wolves in the Premier League

Ritchie came close to leaving Newcastle in January but a move back to Bournemouth late in the transfer window fell through.

Bruce said at the time the player was "frustrated" at his lack of football and would "need to get his head down until the end of the season".

PA - Matt Ritchie was involved in a training ground dispute this week and has apologised
Image: Matt Ritchie was involved in a training ground dispute this week and has apologised

Club sources have told Sky Sports News they consider the matter resolved and have moved on.

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Newcastle are only three points above the Premier League drop zone and travel to 19th-placed West Brom on Sunday.

Howey hopes clash can spur on players

Speaking to Sky Sports News on Thursday, former Newcastle defender Steve Howey said the clash between Bruce and Ritchie was something that every professional player will have experienced before, and expressed his hope that it could spur Newcastle to victory over West Brom this weekend.

He said: "I think Steve's comments after the game, you can understand he's very frustrated. He's obviously gave Matt Ritchie a job to do and he feels that information hasn't been passed on quick enough.

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce during the Premier League match at St. James' Park, Newcastle. Picture date: Saturday February 27, 2021. 2:27
Former Newcastle defender Steve Howey tells Sky Sports News he hopes the training-ground clash between Steve Bruce and Matt Ritchie could spur the club on in their battle against relegation

"We've all seen Jamie Carragher's analysis of that on Monday Night Football and that ultimately cost Newcastle a goal. Matty isn't in the position he should be in and of course Wolves capitalise on that.

"But that's typical when things are not going well for you. Steve's frustrated with that and he says that in his interview afterwards. Matt Ritchie hears this and he's not happy. Matt has apparently tried to get in contact with the manager to try to sort it out, and apparently Steve has sort of said, 'wait until Tuesday'.

"With human nature, it festers a little bit and when it comes to the training ground, things have been said. You show me a player who says he hasn't seen that then he's a liar, because every player has seen something where something's happened in the dressing room.

"We all know about social media and it goes around like you wouldn't believe. With the Newcastle fans at the moment tempers are a little bit flared given the situation in which Newcastle find themselves.

"Hopefully it's something which spurs the players on and knits them together. They've got a big game against West Brom on Sunday - can they get a result in that game?"

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