Date: 24th January 2019 at 7:00am
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Aston Villa’s almost forgotten man Ritchie De Laet has confirmed that he’s ‘playing for a contract’ with A-League side Melbourne City in the second half of the season, but he’s not expecting that contract to come back at Villa Park.

The 30-year-old fullback was another of the more bizarre loan decisions last August from the club and former manager Steve Bruce, as despite the time he spent out injured whilst he was with us, the £2.5million signing back in August 2016 impressed many during the pre-season portion of the campaign and plenty felt he would offer strong competition in both fullback areas or a more advanced role – but then he was jettisoned as we started stockpiling goalkeepers and wingers.

With only nine starting appearances and five substitute showings in our shirt, he firmly believes his time with us is up now and the Birmingham Mail have him quoted as saying.

“At the end of the season I’m out of contract, so I’m playing for a contract somewhere next season. I’m going to keep putting in the performances to get a move somewhere in the summer. I want to play football. I missed a year with a knee injury and then I worked my way back. It was hard work and I wasn’t being selected, so I haven’t played in a year and a half. I’ve got some catching up to do, so I just want to play football.”

Few expected him to set the world alight at Villa, but many believed he’d be a steady and reliable addition to the group and unfortunately for all, it just hasn’t worked out as anyone would’ve hoped.

I guess six goals in 14 matches for his loan side this year will help him get a new deal somewhere.

De Laet, of course, isn’t alone in needing to plan for his future when it comes to contracts expiring at the end of this season and some decisions do need to be made to trim our wage bill further and not only get the general age of the group down, but allow head coach Dean Smith to build the squad he wants as we plan for a brighter future once again.

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