Ritchie de Laet – Denzil Haroun Reserve Player of the Year
Posted by nickogs20 on May 4, 2010
Hot on the heels of Will Keane receiving the Young Player of the Year award, Ritchie de Laet has been named this season’s Denzil Haroun Reserve Player of the Year at the annual United awards night.
Nominated alongside teammates Oliver Gill and Magnus Eikrem by Reserve team manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his assistant Warren Joyce, de Laet claimed the award after coming out on top in a poll of United fans on the club’s official website manutd.com and continued the run of defenders picking up the honour, following on from Richard Eckersley and last year’s winner James Chester – an interesting contrast with the recent domination of the Young Player of the Year gong by forward players. Other previous winners of the Reserve award include the decorated trio of Nicky Butt, John O’Shea and Darren Fletcher.
Eikrem and Gill both had strong claims for the award, with the former having been in scintillating form until being struck down by injury for the second half of the campaign and the latter perhaps being the most improved player at the club. De Laet’s eye-catching pace, power and consistency at the heart of reserve football’s meanest defence just gave him an edge in the eyes of the voters however. “Ritchie has been a revelation since signing from Stoke and he deservedly gained some first team appearances this term,” said Solskjaer of the Belgian international. “He is a very versatile defender who also has an eye for a goal, and he’s a real leader in the team“.
As alluded to by Ole, this award is just the latest promising development for a player whose career seemed to be going nowhere until United’s shock move to sign him from Stoke on a short-term deal in January 2009. Since then the 21 year-old has earned himself a long-term contract running until 2012, impressed in six outings for the first team and won a first senior cap for Belgium, as well as completing a clean sweep of the silverware available at reserve level. “I’m happy of course, we’ve had a good year,” said an understated Ritchie to awards host Jim Rosenthal. “The two trophies, the Senior Cup at the beginning as well, it’s been a good season all round“.
And the next step? “Just keep trying to do my best in training. Everyone at the club helps us out, you have take on board what they say, hope you get picked and give everything when you do“. No faulting that attitude from the first Belgian to play for the United first team and no faulting his performances over the course of a terrific season either. Congratulations to Ritchie, to Magnus and Oliver, to Ole and Warren and to everyone involved in the Reserves setup for what has been a wonderful campaign.