The latest Leicester City signing Ritchie De Laet has said that he is very much looking forward to the start of the new season and is under no illusion that it will be easy. The former Manchester United defender recently made his move to the Championship club permanent after many seasons of spending time on loan at various clubs including Leicester City. He is expected to be a major factor towards the push for promotion from the club. Leicester City were heavily expected to be challenging for promotion spot last time around, but the expected push never came.
They are once again the favourites for promotion this time around as well due to the heavy spending, but Ritchie De Laet reckons that it will certainly not be easy and that the club should focus only on getting the pre-season right. One of the reasons for Ritchie De Laet thinking that the Championship season this time around will be tough is due to the presence of Premier league teams, who have only been recently relegated from the top division. Clubs like Bolton, Wolverhampton Wanderers, and Blackpool are still expected to have a huge pile of cash injection from the parachute payments.
“The three clubs that came down – Bolton, Blackburn and Wolves – are big clubs, plus you’ve got the likes of Blackpool, Cardiff, Middlesbrough and all the other sides that are up there time and time again, including Hull and Ipswich. So it is going to be a tough year for everyone in the Championship and competition for not just automatic promotion, but the play-off places as well is going to be fierce. I don’t think that the ‘favourites’ tag will bother the lads too much because they played with that on their shoulders last season,” De Laet told Sky Sports.
Leicester City were one of the clubs favourites to finish in the top six of the table, but they managed to miss out on the play-offs in the final few months of the campaign. However, they have already begun the rebuilding job in order to target promotion next season.
As a result, they have already announced the signings of two new players, who will be a key part of their promotion bid next season. They have signed Manchester United defender Ritchie De Laet on a permanent deal, while they have also secured the signings of Matty James.
Ritchie De Laet is a 23-year-old defender who has a lot of experience playing in the Championship, while Matty James is a 20-year-old English midfielder, who will provide a lot of craft to the team. Leicester City have announced that both these players will be coming to the club on a three-year contract. Ritchie De Laet has spent many seasons on loan at Norwich, Sheffield United, Portsmouth, and Preston. He has been part of the Manchester United team in only six first-team matches since signing for the club back in 2009. Matty James is a former England under 19 captain, who is yet to feature in the first team for Manchester United.
Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson has said that he is extremely happy with the signings he has made in the summer. He expects both Ritchie and Matthew to play a major role for the club next season. ‘Ritchie and Matthew are both players we have been monitoring for some time and we are very pleased to be able to bring them both to the club. Both are hungry, young players with winning mentalities, experience of Championship football and a desire to be successful,’ said Nigel Pearson on the official website of the club.
On loan Manchester United defender Ritchie de Laet is a major doubt for Norwich City’s trip to Manchester City. Norwich will be making a trip to the League leaders, and manager Paul Lambert would have been hoping for a full strength team to take on the League leaders. However, he may have to do without the services of Ritchie de Laet, who has been in excellent form this season. The only for Paul Lambert, though, will be the return of Zak Whitbread to first-team action. Manchester City have been in excellent form this season, and they have been exceptionally strong at home.
So far, they have won all their home matches, with the four dropped points all coming in the away matches. Hence, Norwich need to be extremely aware of the fact that they can be picked apart if they are concentrating enough on the match. Ritchie de Laet will be missing the match against the arch rivals of his parent club – Manchester United – due to a back problem. Norwich can consider even a draw to be a major success given the way Manchester City have been performing at home this season. The return of Zak Whitbread, though, will be doing some way into consoling Paul Lambert from the fact that Ritchie de Laet is missing for the match.
Zak Whitbread injured himself in the early stages of the season in the match against Chelsea, and the match against Manchester City will be one of his first since returning from injury. The match against Manchester City may come a little too soon for another defender Daniel Ayala. Norwich, though, can take heart from the fact that they have a number of players returning back from injury, the most important among them will be Elliott Ward, who has started training.