All-action: Newcastle’s £10.8m-rated ace sets the standard for January loan arrival – opinion

Newcastle were held to a disappointing 0-0 draw at home against bottom Premier League side Norwich on Saturday.

There was no lack of shots – they managed 34 between them – but a clear lack of quality and ability to strike in front of goal was on show. In the end, only nine of those efforts were on target.

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However, Steve Bruce will have been wanting to take positives from the match, and he can pleased with his team’s backline. They managed to keep out the opposition for the second time in three league matches, and one man was able to provide both at the back and going forward: Matt Ritchie.

The Scotland international has spent a large part of this season out injured, but he impressed against the Canaries. It is often his offensive play that catches the eye, and that was no different here. His four key passes were only matched by Nabil Bentaleb for the Magpies, whilst he managed the most crosses amongst his teammates as well (3).

Defensively, he completed seven clearances – only one player had more – as well as one blocked shot and three interceptions. All in all, his SofaScore rating of 7.7 was bettered by just one player for Newcastle.

The Toon were busy during the January transfer window, bringing in three new players – albeit all on loan.

Whilst Bentaleb and Valentino Lazaro look as though they will feature regularly for the rest of the season – the former enjoyed a promising debut at the weekend, whilst the latter will be eyeing DeAndre Yedlin’s spot after the USA international could only manage a rating of 6.7 – but Rose will have a job on his hands replacing £10.8m-valued Ritchie – as per Transfermarkt.

The England international said that Jetro Willems’ injury convinced him to call his agent and try and sort out the move, but the former Bournemouth man could still present him with a difficult roadblock to navigate around during his loan spell.

Based on this display, Newcastle have strong competition for a place at left-wing-back and the arrival of Rose could squeeze another level out of Ritchie, who set the standard against Daniel Farke’s men on Saturday.

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