This time last year, United signed Ritchie De Laet from Stoke City. Then a virtual unknown, the versatile defender is now targeting a regular spot in the Reds’ senior XI…
How would you sum up your first year at Old Trafford?
It’s been fantastic, better than I expected, in fact. I came here on trial to show the boss what I could do. He gave me my chance at the end of last season at Hull and I think I took it. I started training with the first team during pre-season and played in the friendly against Valencia, which went well. I’ve been involved in some Carling Cup games and a few league matches, and signed a new three-year contract. So everything has gone brilliantly.
As a young player, do you go to the more experienced lads for advice?
Yes, I do. It’s important not to be afraid of going to the older lads, who are happy to help. You want to be prepared as well as you can. Not only do you want to help the team win but you don’t want to look back on a game and be ashamed of your performance. I spoke to Gary Neville before the Carling Cup tie against Tottenham about how best to mark [Aaron] Lennon and he gave me great advice.
The recent injury crisis has given you a chance to impress…
The injury situation has been unbelievable. Of course, it would be great if every player was available and the manager could pick a settled back four, but when there are injuries you have to be ready. You need to make the most of your opportunities and give the boss something to think about before the next game.
You seem an attack-minded player - is that a part of the game you enjoy?
Definitely. I think it’s a trend of this club to have attacking full-backs and it’s one of the reasons we create so many chances. I’m learning more about the importance of picking your moment to go forward - you have to be careful not to get caught out. I used to play up front when I was a kid, then I went to central midfield and right wing. When I joined Royal Antwerp I