De Laet’s ready to cause havoc

Defender Ritchie De Laet is confident Norwich City’s dead-ball routines can help him chalk up a useful goal tally in the Premier League this season.

The Belgian got off the mark by giving City the lead against Stoke at Carrow Road last Sunday, following up his pre-season goal against Real Zaragoza, both from free-kicks.

And the 22-year-old, on a season-long loan from Manchester United, is keen to create more set-piece havoc as the campaign unfolds.

He said: “We don’t get forward an awful lot as defenders but when you get there you want to do well and I want to try to score as many goals as I can.

“When we played Stoke, every time we went forward we looked dangerous and it looked like something was going to happen. We got a corner or we got a free-kick out of it, and we were dangerous because we’ve got good delivery and we have some tall lads in the team.”

De Laet headed home Bradley Johnson’s free-kick and looked set to give City a winning start to their home programme until Kenwyne Jones’ late, late leveller.

He said: “It was there to put my head against and I did it and, luckily for me, it went in. When the delivery is spot-on like that you just try to move in the box and get your head against it and if you get a good header in, it might just go in.”

Most Read

Daniel Ayala’s knee injury leaves City with just three fit central defenders and guarantees De Laet a key role in the weeks ahead.

He said: “It was his first start and losing Dani is a big blow. But things happen like that and you’ve got to adapt. We still have three centre-backs so I’m sure we can work something out.”

De Laet could face two familiar figures at Chelsea today (3pm) in fellow Belgian international Romelu Lukaku and Spanish capture Juan Mata, a player he faced in a pre-season friendly in 2009.

“I played against Mata when he was at Valencia. He was already in the first team then, and he’s been in and around the Spain squad as well,” he said.