The Austrian midfielder, who turned 27 last month, joined the Reds in January from Wolfsberger, where he had worked under Oakwell head coach Gerhard Struber. He has played eight games for Barnsley, six from the start, either side of an injury which kept him out for almost a month.
Ritzmaier told the Chronicle: “I felt good from the first moment I came to the club. The players and staff helped me a lot to settle in very fast. It is a little bit easier with the German-speaking players. “We have a good atmosphere, everyone believes that we can still stay in the league and we are in a good way. It’s true that the fans have not seen the best of me yet. There is always space to improve and that is what I will be working on.”
Ritzmaier is currently back in his home country. He lives very close to Barnsley centre-back Michael Sollbauer, who also moved from Wolfsberger in January, and has seen him briefly during the lockdown. He also went to watch his former club Wolfsberger training in small groups to observe social distancing. He said: “It’s a strange time. I am living with my girlfriend’s family. “In Austria it is getting better and better. It is nice weather and the shops have been open since the beginning of the week. The Austrian league would like to start soon and they are doing everything to start this month.”
Ritzmaier spent seven years in the Netherlands at PSV Eindhoven who loaned him out to various clubs in the Dutch league which has now been cancelled along with Belgian and French football. He said: “I am in touch with a few players there. It is a strange situation for them but at least they have clarity, they know what will happen. The health is the most important for the people and everything else is second.”