Promotion, then EPL joy for de Laet

Ritchie de Laet played 12 matches for Leicester.
Ritchie de Laet played 12 matches for Leicester.PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

LONDON • Ritchie de Laet enjoyed an unprecedented double celebration on Saturday, when he picked up a Premier League winner's medal on the day his other team won promotion to the top flight.

The journeyman Belgian defender, who played 12 league matches for Leicester this season, joined Middlesbrough on loan in January and made 10 appearances for the team to help them finish second in the Championship.

After Boro drew 1-1 at home with Brighton & Hove Albion to confirm their promotion, de Laet, who was an unused substitute, travelled to the King Power Stadium to see Leicester beat Everton 3-1 before collecting English football's biggest prize for the first time.

"It's crazy. I'm still a Leicester player, so I'll be on my way to catch the end of the Leicester game to get my medal there," the 27-year-old told the BBC of his 21/2-hour, 240-km drive from the Riverside Stadium. "It's a great day for me."

He said later: "I drove straight after the game and got here a couple of minutes before half-time to get comfortable, watch the second half and join in the celebrations."

De Laet, who has played twice for Belgium, started his career with Antwerp before joining Manchester United in 2009.

He spent three years at Old Trafford, making three league appearances amid several loans to other clubs, and moved to Leicester in 2012.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 09, 2016, with the headline 'Promotion, then EPL joy for de Laet'. Print Edition | Subscribe