Norwich City cancel Manchester United defender Ritchie De Laet’s loan

Defender Ritchie De Laet returned to Manchester United with immediate effect on Wednesday after his loan with Norwich City was cancelled.

The 23-year-old Belgian joined the Canaries on a season-long loan in the summer but is currently out with a back injury that has limited him to just six Premier League appearances and one in the Carling Cup.

De Laet made a promising start to his spell at Carrow Road, playing in City's opening five matches and scoring in the 1-1 home draw with his former side Stoke City in August.

But opportunities to impress were few and far after that, with injury problems not helping his cause.

After starting in the 1-0 home defeat at the hands of West Brom in September de Laet made only two more appearances for the Canaries, both starts, in the 2-1 home victory over QPR on November 26 and the 2-0 home defeat against Tottenham on December 27.

'Ritchie has gone back to Manchester United,' confirmed City boss Paul Lambert. 'We thank Sir Alex Ferguson for loaning him to us and wish Ritchie well for the future and hope he goes on to have a successful career at Man Utd.'

The announcement inevitably prompted speculation that the Canaries might be about to bring their loan contingent straight back up to two, with Spurs defender Kyle Naughton already at Carrow Road until the end of the season.

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There was internet talk that young Arsenal winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain might be the man, but that seems fanciful given that wide player Gervinho is currently away at the African Nations Cup and manager Arsene Wenger would almost certainly need the 18-year-old flyer as cover. A more likely move would be for a back-up goalkeeper to cover for the absence of Declan Rudd, who has been ruled out for two months with an ankle injury.

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