Manchester United’s Ritchie De Laet has no regrets at brief Norwich City loan
Former Norwich City loan defender Ritchie De Laet has no regrets about his brief stint at Carrow Road.
A troublesome back problem forced the Manchester United youngster to cut short a season long loan move from Old Trafford after just seven appearances for the Canaries. The 23-year-old was recently linked with a Championship loan switch to play-off chasing Birmingham as a potential source of first team football after making his last competitive outing during Norwich's 2-0 Premier League defeat to Tottenham in late December.
De Laet admitted he was guilty of some early season blunders for Norwich, which included conceding an opening day penalty against Wigan in City's 1-1 draw at the DW Stadium. The Belgian insists working under Paul Lambert was still a major boost to his career after the Scot gave him a shot at Premier League football following previous loan spells with Sheffield United, Preston and Portsmouth.
'It was something new obviously, going into the Premier League, but I'd been on loan before so that wasn't a huge shock to me,' he said. 'It started off really well, I scored a goal and made a few mistakes, which is bound to happen to a young player new to that level of football. Every time I made a mistake I got punished for it and then the injury didn't help matters.
'The chance to work with a great manager in Paul Lambert down there was good too to miss because he helped pick me up after those mistakes were made. The way he runs the club there is very similar to here at United, so overall the loan spell helped me a lot. You can't compare training to playing first-team football in the Premier League because it is played at such a high intensity and pace. However, training alongside world-class players here at United every day can help you fine tune your game and helps you develop as a player.'
Norwich's Premier League progress since has come as little surprise to De Laet, who believes the Canaries can now go on and establish themselves in the top tier.
'I could see in pre-season how well they were going to do this year in the Premier League because they've got some quality players there,' he told Sky Sports. 'The style of football they play down there is the right way to play when entering the top flight and the backroom team there are fantastic as well.
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'They've shown everyone this season how good a team they are and they have proved very hard to beat at both home and away. I hope that they can continue to do the same for the rest of the season and then take it into next year and onwards because the fans there deserved to see top-flight football again.'