Thursday, 4 June 2015

Can Ritchie force a starting place for Scotland?

Matt Ritchie is now attracting attention much further afield than on the pitch in England. His recent performances have been recognised to the extent that he has been awarded a Sky Bet Championship Award for being named in the team of the season, made up from Championship teams, and his international recognition for Scotland could be about to hit new heights with an international friendly against Qatar on 5 June in Edinburgh, and also a massive Euro 2016 qualifier against the Republic of Ireland on 13 June at Dublin's Aviva stadium, where he could be lining up against Harry Arter.
Ritchie can be a big hit across the border.
The two matches that Matt has played for Scotland this year were against Gibraltar and Northern Ireland in March and in both games Scotland came out with a victory. So is Matt now going to get the opportunity to see if he can make the right wing position his own in the team? Ritchie played the full 90 minutes against Northern Ireland but it was just a friendly, while against Gibraltar he was substituted for Gordon Greer in the second half which was perhaps disappointing for him, but Gordon Strachan's team was 4-1 at the time and Scotland didn't need to be overly attacking in the second half. James Forrest, 23, who plays for Celtic is probably going to be his main competition for the place in the coming games and Forrest already has nine senior caps to his name.

While Matt has had lots of playing time with Simon Francis at Bournemouth it is going to take him time to get his game flowing as well when he puts on a Scotland shirt. It is a new experience, but an exciting one for him and with players like Ikchi Anya, Darren Fletcher, Jordan Rhodes, Steven Naismith and Shaun Maloney in the team, the Scots are looking like a solid and strong attacking team these days.

The aim for Matt will just be to try and make a few headlines north of the border, so that he can then be involved in the next couple of Euro 2016 qualifiers in September, when Scotland take on Gibraltar and Germany. 

Harry Arter could also be involved in the unofficial friendly at the Aviva stadium when Ireland take on Republic of Ireland, although Harry sat out training the other day with a bruised foot.

While we are talking tournaments you'll find Cherry Chimes preview of the Copa America Competition on Premier Talk

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