Ritchie de Laet, now back at Antwerp, has been speaking to Belgian newspaper Het Belang van Limburg about his move and time in England, and it’s fair to say Jamie Vardy is the star of the show.
De Laet was part of the Leicester City squad who won the Premier League, and played enough games for a medal, despite going on loan to Middlesbrough in the January of that season.
Asked if he’d been given the medal, De Laet explained: “Certainly. On the same day that I won promotion with Middlesbrough against Brighton – I was on the bench – and got my medal for the promotion, I had to take a shower, jump in the car and drive for three hours to enjoy the Leicester title celebration. They had called me and I absolutely had to come. I arrived during the break, pulled on my Leicester kit and was allowed on the pitch for the celebration.”
The Leicester City title win is still a big deal through the world sport media. If a smaller club are on course to do something improbable it’s often referred to as a ‘Leicester’ type achievement.
It made a big star of Vardy, and HBVL wanted to know if ‘the sensation at Leicester’ remains a friend: “We still have regular contact, yes. He has been here at my home in Antwerp, where he enjoyed the Belgian fries. Since then I always had to bring Jupiler to England with every trip to Belgium. So I bought one for him and also one for me.”
The Belgian newspaper asked De Laet if he’d taught Vardy any Dutch: “Yes, but what, I will not repeat that. Vards asked teammates every match for slander in the language of the defender. He asked Riyad Mahrez something French that would make his opponent completely crazy. And then Riyadh something in French along the lines of ‘Suck’. Anyway, it must have helped for sure?
“Totally the opposite of N’Golo Kante. That boy didn’t speak two words, did his work in the gym, stepped on the pitch and it seemed as if there were three Kantes. He was that good. But the best was Mahrez. He is two steps ahead of everyone. Really impressive to see.”