£2.5m Aston Villa defender Ritchie de Laet made just eight Championship appearances for the club and is starring in the A-League with Melbourne City.

Ritchie de Laet is probably the last player you would expect to pick out the top corner with a 25 yard piledriver.

But Aston Villa’s forgotten man has made a habit of confounding expectations since moving on loan to A-League outfit Melbourne City last summer.

A £2.5 million signing from Leicester City in 2016 (the Sun), De Laet became one of the club’s first additions since they were relegated from the Premier League three years ago. But injuries restricted the one-time Manchester United youngster to just eight Championship appearances for the Midland giants.

STEVE BRUCE MUST GO

So barely an eyebrow was raised when De Laet was sent out on loan to Melbourne City in September.

And like Ross McCormack, who scored 14 goals in 17 games for Manchester City’s Aussie sister club in 2017/18, the 30-year-old has shone Down Under.

De Laet took his tally to seven goals for the season on Friday with the most unexpected of strikes, a thumping drive from well outside the box, as City thrashed Brisbane Roar 4-1.

The twice-capped Belgian international appears to be loving life in Melbourne. Well, wouldn’t you?

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