Matt Ritchie: Bournemouth winger's joy at Scotland call-up

Matt Ritchie
Matt Ritchie has scored 11 goals for Bournemouth this season

Bournemouth winger Matt Ritchie says he is determined to take his chance and impress Scotland boss Gordon Strachan.

Ritchie, 25, has received his first call-up to the Scotland squad for games against Northern Ireland and Gibraltar.

The former Swindon man was born in Gosport but qualifies for Scotland thanks to his father, Alex.

"I'm absolutely delighted to go away with the squad and hopefully I can go and impress and play a part," Ritchie told BBC Radio Solent.

Ritchie started his career at Portsmouth and also had loan spells with Dagenham & Redbridge, Notts County and Swindon Town before signing permanently for the Robins in 2011.

Two years later, he switched to Bournemouth and this season has helped Eddie Howe's side to the top of the English Championship.

He revealed Strachan informed him of the news a "few weeks ago" so that he could concentrate on his league form and that it was not a tough decision to choose between Scotland and England.

Harry Arter
Ritchie's club team-mate Harry Arter was called up by the Republic of Ireland last week

"We've been doing great in the league and that was really kind of him [Strachan] as it could have affected my performances," said Ritchie. "I really appreciated that and it allowed me to relax and gave me some confidence.

"I'm half Scottish, my dad is Scottish and I'm really looking forward to it."

Ritchie continued: "My granddad was in the navy, which is what brought him down to Portsmouth but they [grandparents] were both from Edinburgh. They are not with us any more but they would be proud and my dad is also.

"It's great and I'm really excited. When you grow up as a kid, you want to play at the highest level possible and the Scotland squad will be a great experience to play with top players."

Ritchie has played 42 times for Bournemouth this season with 11 goals and, with Harry Arter also earning international recognition with the Republic of Ireland for the first time last week, he admits it is a great time to be at the south-coast club.

"We are top of the league, it's a great place to be, things are moving up and it's great for the club and individuals," added Ritchie.

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