Defender wants Pompey return

Ritchie de Laet is loving life at Pompey
Ritchie de Laet is loving life at Pompey
Milan Lalkovic in pre-season action against the Hawks

Pompey winger set for return against Walsall

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Ritchie de Laet opened the door for a Pompey return and insisted: I’d love to be back next season.

The impressive right-back is on loan at Fratton Park until the end of the campaign.

He will then head back to parent club Manchester United, where he is still contracted for another 12 months.

Ultimately, the Belgium international wants to extend his Old Trafford contract with a view to breaking into the first-team squad at Old Trafford.

But he has revealed that if the chance arose for regular football on loan elsewhere, Fratton Park is a priority.

De Laet has made 15 appearances for the Blues, establishing himself as a key member of a defence which has kept eight clean sheets in their past 10 outings.

And the 22-year-old admitted he would relish returning for another stint if possible.

He said: ‘I would definitely like to come back to Portsmouth.

‘This must be my best season because I am playing that many games and I feel I am improving as a player all the time through that experience.

‘The plan is to get back to Manchester United and I haven’t heard anything different.

‘I am a loanee, I need to go back to my parent club afterwards and see what happens in the summer. But everything is open at the moment.

‘Obviously, I have only one year left there so I would like to do something about that in the summer first.

‘If we can get something done and I sign a new deal at United then I want to come back here. Definitely.

‘At Portsmouth the guys have been great and the supporters have been great as well.

‘It’s a big club, it has a good tradition and should be in the Premier League.

‘The fans have been unbelievable. It’s a good squad of players and the gaffer is unbelievable as well.

‘There is everything for me to come back for.

‘I live in Old Portsmouth, it’s nice. I am there with the wife and the kid and am enjoying my life there.’

De Laet has played all but one of his Pompey matches as a right-back.

For the former Stoke youngster, his Fratton Park stay has provided his longest first-team run. That comes after previous loan spells with Wrexham, Sheffield United and Preston.

De Laet has also made five appearances for the Red Devils, three of which came in the Premier League.

And he is convinced the Pompey dressing room spirit is the best he has ever experienced at any of his former clubs.

He added: ‘I have never, ever played in a team with a team spirit like this. Never, ever.

‘It is not a big squad so that might have helped as well because if somebody doesn’t get along it will be noticed straight away.

‘But it’s not like that at all. In training there’s laughing from the moment the first ball is kicked until the last ball has been kicked.

‘Before games the spirit is there, with plenty of laughing and joking.

‘We take the mickey out of each other and it’s a great place to be.’