Aston Villa outcast Ritchie De Laet has made the perfect start to life in Australia, as reported by Birmingham Live.
The 29-year-old left Villa on loan last month, making the switch to Melbourne City where former Wigan Athletic boss Warren Joyce is in charge.
He made his debut last Saturday, captaining the side in a derby win over Melbourne Victory and etching his name on the scoresheet.
De Laet established himself as a key player for Leicester City during a four-year stint but failed to shine for Villa after joining from the Foxes in 2016. Steve Bruce allowed him to join Royal Antwerp on loan last season and it was unsurprising to see the defender leave on a temporary basis again this season.
However, Villa’s recent appointment of Dean Smith could give the defender a lifeline in the Midlands.
In the meantime, De Laet is enjoying life down under and spoke of his pride at captaining City:
“It was a great evening all round, I was very proud to be captain. We had to battle away for ninety minutes to get the three points, it’s been a long pre-season. We have been working tirelessly trying to get the plans right for that game.
“It was weird doing a face-off at the start, I have never done that before. The atmosphere was electric, the crowd was great and it was a good game. We knew the game wasn’t over at one-nil down, we stuck to the plan and we got rewarded for it.”
Former AC Milan midfielder Keisuke Honda had edged Victory ahead and it was De Laet that put City back on level terms. He spoke about how he managed to convert and level proceedings:
“I thought I would come in late to try and get an edge on everyone standing still on the edge of the box.
“The keeper saved it onto the post and luckily for me it fell right into my path.”
Melbourne City and De Laet will make the trip to Central Coast Mariners on Saturday whereas Aston Villa will visit QPR on Friday.