By Noel Whelan

17th Sep, 2021 | 12:00pm

Matt Ritchie verdict issued by pundit after Newcastle 'bust-up'

Noel Whelan insists a bust-up that has echoes of last season’s Steve Bruce-Matt Ritchie fall-out is the last thing Newcastle United need ahead of tonight’s clash with Leeds United.

The former Leeds hitman, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, reacted to the latest out of St James’ Park.

On Thursday (16 September) The Daily Mail reported a rift is opening up between the players and coaching staff at Newcastle.

It was claimed assistant manager Graeme Jones and striker Dwight Gayle recently engaged in a heated ‘bust-up’ during a training session.

It is also claimed some players are annoyed with Steve Bruce after he took aim at Isaac Hayden’s defending against Manchester United last week.

Whelan insists the publication of this report is the last thing the Magpies need.

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“No one is happy with Steve Bruce by the sounds of it,” Whelan told Football Insider‘s Ben Wild.

“I think everyone has to take responsibility for results, not just the manager.

“I know that from my time as a player, sometimes the team is at fault. They can take the heat off the manager.

“If a player isn’t doing the basics why blame the manager? Again, it’s something Newcastle didn’t need.

“Especially after everything that came out last season between Matt Ritchie and Bruce last season.

“There just seems to be no continuity between players and staff. It’s very early on in the season too.

“You could understand it last season, they were in a relegation fight and every point mattered.

“We’re only four games into this season and there’s bickering, it’s bizarre. It doesn’t look good.

“It’s the last thing they needed before a massive game this evening.”

In other news, Pundit issues Newcastle warning after Athletic update on Bruce being sacked.