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Newcastle boss Bruce urges Choudhury to learn from ‘horror’ tackle

Steve Bruce has urged Leicester midfielder Hamza Choudhury to learn from the “horror” tackle which has left Newcastle counterpart Matt Ritchie facing two months on the sidelines.

The Scotland international suffered ankle ligament damage as well as three wounds which required stitches after being caught by the 21-year-old as they challenged for a ball late in the first half of Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup second round clash at St James’ Park.

Magpies head coach Bruce confirmed as he prepared his team for Saturday’s Premier League showdown with Watford that Ritchie will be sidelined for around eight weeks, but admitted his relief at the knowledge that it could have been significantly worse.

The 58-year-old, who described the tackle as a “horror challenge” after the game, said: “We think he’s going to be maybe two months, eight weeks.

“There is ankle ligament damage too, bone bruising, cuts. The kid, as I said to you the other night, was a mess. Thankfully it’s not six months, but it’s bad enough when it’s the best part of eight weeks.

“These tackles are the ones that damage you. Let’s hope the young lad learns from it because he’s a good player, the kid.

“But obviously, it doesn’t help us and Matt in particular, who’s going to miss at least a couple of months.

“But he’s a great character, Matt, and he’ll get over it, and I’m sure when he gets over the next few days, he’ll get to work and get himself back.”

Choudhury, who was sent off for a tackle on England Under-21s duty against France during the summer, offered his best wishes to Ritchie in the aftermath of the game, but was unrepentant about his challenge.

He told Sky Sports: “It was a 50/50. He pulled out last minute, which made it look a lot worse. I don’t know what I can say. I try to tackle, I’ve never gone in to hurt someone and unfortunately it has. I hope he gets better soon.

“I know Steve Bruce was a tough-tackling defender in his day, and people are quick to forget how they played football.”

Ritchie will miss the Hornets’ visit to Tyneside as a result of his injury, as will frontman Allan Saint-Maximin, who could be out for up to five weeks after aggravating a hamstring injury at Tottenham last Sunday.

Bruce also has doubts over wing-backs Emil Krafth and Jetro Willems, as well as Miguel Almiron, but fellow striker Joelinton is expected to be fit.