Under-fire Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce has offered an explanation for his decision to allow defender Ritchie De Laet to depart, as reported by Birmingham Live.

The 29-year-old joined Australian A-League side Melbourne City on a season-long loan last Thursday despite Villa’s slow start to the season, which many have blamed on the club’s defensive displays.

A Championship promotion winner with Leicester City and Middlesbrough, De Laet was expected to impress at Villa Park when he arrived in 2016, but injuries and competition for places have limited his minutes on the pitch.

Despite featuring in both of the club’s Carabao Cup fixtures this season, De Laet was allowed to make the switch to Australia and Bruce has spoken out about the decision:

“It’s been a frustratingly disappointing time for Ritchie. As we know, he suffered a serious injury in his third game here.

“I think with the people I’ve got at right-back, when I think of Ahmed Elmohamady, James Bree and Alan Hutton, then it was only right that I let him get on with his career. 

“We would like transfer fees for some of these loans, but that wasn’t possible. However, it’s another one off the wage bill which, as I keep saying, with Financial Fair Play we have to adhere to.”

The Villans salvaged a point in their last outing thanks to a late strike from Conor Hourihane against Blackburn Rovers. They host Rotherham United tomorrow evening but De Laet will be preparing for Melbourne City’s FFA Cup quarter-final showdown with Western Sydney Wanderers instead.


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