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Melbourne City marquee Ritchie de Laet: 'I just want to play football again'

Melbourne City signing Ritchie de Laet's CV includes an English Premier League medal, promotion and international caps with Belgium.

But his goal in the A-League, where he has linked up with former coach Warren Joyce, is far simpler.

"I just want to play football again and enjoy it," he said on Tuesday.

"I know what the gaffer expects from his players. I want to graft again and do well for the team."

Joyce nods as he hears the words from his marquee recruit, who has signed a one-year loan deal from Aston Villa.

The pair first met in Belgium, when De Laet was a teenage hopeful and Joyce was assigned to Royal Antwerp as part of a tie-up with Manchester United.

Joyce saw his quality and gave the 17-year-old, who still rode a bike to training from school, his debut in a local derby.

Stoke City pounced to sign the teenager and Joyce hatched a plan to get him to United.

"There was an opportunity to bring Ritchie to the club that we discussed with the manager to help [the reserve] team out," he said.

"Secretly I always thought he could play for Manchester United's first team and it turned out to be true.

"It was sold to the manager on a different deal to help other players develop ... he came, grabbed the opportunity to play for United with both hands and obviously ends up winning the league at Leicester as well."

After a series of loan deals from United, De Laet landed with the Foxes in 2012 and began their remarkable run to the 2015-16 title as the club's first-choice right-back.

"Then I got dropped for I don't know what reason," De Laet said.

"I went to see Claudio [Ranieri, manager' and knocked on his door ... he said 'You're going to have to be patient, sit on the bench and hopefully a chance will come.'

"I wasn't happy with that and I decided to go on loan to Middlesbrough in January."

Thrown into the Boro team, De Laet helped them achieve promotion -- a rare personal double-feat -- but one that left him cold.

"[At Leicester], the really big push at the end of the season I wasn't there for," he said.

"The Middlesbrough one, it was a weird one as well because I wasn't there at the start.

"So I won two things that season but didn't really feel a part of them."

After moving again to relegated Villa, De Laet was on the outer once more, beset by injury having been signed by a sacked manager.

Reunited with Joyce, he knows he'll be getting what he's wanted his entire career.

"I don't feel any pressure here. I just want to play football," he said.

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