By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Since returning from a loan spell with League Two champions-elect Gillingham, Michael Richardson has scored two goals in three Barclays Under-21 Premier League games - and the latest came against an England international goalkeeper.
The flame-haired midfielder dribbled past two defenders before placing the ball beyond John Ruddy in Monday's 2-0 win over Norwich at Whitley Park, hot on the heels of his strike at Stoke seven days earlier.
He'd also played the whole game in the 1-1 draw at Bolton last Thursday as he continues to impress at second-string level following the ankle injury he suffered against Sunderland's under-21 side in September.
Richardson made his comeback in a 3-0 win over Stoke's second-string in February before heading to Priestfield, where he played twice before coming back to his parent club.
His goal against the Canaries doubled United's lead after Brandon Miele's opener, and left once-capped Ruddy - who was playing his first game since November - helpless.
"I think he was a bit rusty after so long out, and I just took it early and I think it took him by surprise," the 21-year-old former Walker Central player told nufc.co.uk.
"It's good to be back here and it's always nice to score goals, although the most important thing is helping the team.
"Scoring goals is a bonus and I'm pleased to have got two in the last three games but probably the main thing is just that I've played three 90 minutes in the last couple of weeks.
"When I went to Gillingham I'd only played half a game after several months out and because of that, and with them doing so well, it was always going to be hard to break into the team. But I was glad to see them get promoted at the weekend and I hope they go on to win League Two.
"Coming back here is good, though, and I'm pleased to be scoring and helping the team to do well. They're playing really well at the moment and I think it just helps having a settled team, because there's just a better understanding and more of a togetherness.
"So hopefully we can keep on winning games for the rest of the season."