Monday 11 December 2017

New call-up Matt Ritchie admits: 'I've never been to Scotland'

Matt Ritchie
Matt Ritchie

Bournemouth winger Matt Ritchie will find himself in unfamiliar surroundings when he joins up with the Scotland squad for their upcoming internationals against Northern Ireland and Gibraltar after revealing he has never set foot in Scotland in his life.

Ritchie (right), who has played a key role in Bournemouth's push for a first-ever promotion to England's top flight, was called into the squad for the first time by coach Gordon Strachan this week for the friendly against Northern Ireland on March 25 and the Euro 2016 qualifier against Gibraltar four days later.

But the 25-year-old told the Bournemouth Echo: "I haven't actually been to Scotland," explaining that his father moved to Portsmouth from Edinburgh before he was born.

"I had a call a couple of weeks ago from the manager. He said he had been watching a lot of our games and liked what he had seen.

"He said he felt I would fit into the squad so, hopefully, I can impress and can fit in.

"It was an easy decision. To be involved with a country's international team is a great achievement and a dream come true."

Ritchie has scored nine times with Bournemouth, who are involved in the tight promotion race at the top of the English Championship. They are third in the table, two points behind Watford and Middlesbrough with eight matches to play.

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