Melbourne City loanee Ritchie de Laet is unsure where his future lies and is fully focused on setting the world alight at AAMI Park, to make sure he has options when the season concludes.
City came away with a 4-3 thrilling win over Western Sydney Wanderers last night as de Laet netted a brace to help his team to victory.
The Belgian came to the A-League on loan from Aston Villa after being out of the European football scene for over a year. A severe knee injury he picked up in 2016 hindered his progress.
De Laet has been key for City this season, he originally arrived as a defender, but coach Warren Joyce has recently played him as a striker and now the Belgian has six goals to his name.
The 30-year-old said he wasn’t looking towards the end of the season, but was keen to put on a show for the scouts.
“I just want to do well here, at the end of the season I’m out of contract, but I’m playing for a contract somewhere next season,” de Laet said.
“I need to keep putting in the performances to get a move somewhere in the summer.
“I’m open to anything, I was open to come here and come alone, so if an opportunity presents itself in the offseason to stay out here, I’ll definitely think about it.
“I just want to play football. I missed a year with a knee injury, I worked my way back and it was hard work and I wasn’t being selected, so I haven’t played in over year. I’ve got some catching up to do, so I just want to play football.”
De Laet’s striker role isn’t unfamiliar to him as he recalls Joyce playing him up front in his days with Manchester United’s reserves.
He also recalls playing as a midfielder at Royal Antwerp before Joyce converted him to a right-back at United.
De Laet also said Joyce reminded him of when he played as a striker with the Red Devils as they came back from 3-0 down to beat Newcastle United 6-3 where he bagged an assist and a goal to win the league in 2012.
“Ever since the 6-3 game, if he needs me to go up front, then that’s something I’ll do,” he said.
“Nothing surprises me with Joycey anymore, so when he turned around and said to me ‘Fancy playing up front?’, I said ‘I’ll do it, help the team. If that’s what the team needs me to do, then I’ll do it’.”