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Aston Villa 2017-18 player preview: Ritchie De Laet

Once thought to be the RB solution, De Laet now faces an uphill battle to get into the side.

Aston Villa v Nottingham Forest - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Poor Ritchie De Laet. How things can change in just 12 months. The Belgian fullback went from being a Premier League AND Championship winner the same season, to a injury ravaged forgotten man at the fallen giant that is Aston Villa.

That might actually be a little harsh, but time will tell.

Upon signing last season, De Laet looked to be a permanent solution at right back. But then, in his third game for the club, De Laet picked up a serious knee injury, and we are still awaiting his return. Unfortunately for the 28-year-old, time passed him by somewhat. Alan Hutton regained some form, and James Bree and Ahmed Elmohamady have both been brought in.

De Laet didn’t feature at all during pre-season, as he continues to rehabilitate his injury. Return, in theory shouldn’t be too far off, but how does he fit into the side? In theory, he is the fourth choice at RB afterall. Realistically, he is going to have to make a huge impact in whatever opportunities he gets, if he gets them. It’s a tall order.