Ritchie De Laet joins Norwich on loan from Manchester United

Norwich have confirmed the signing of defender Ritchie De Laet on a season-long loan from Manchester United, "subject to the relevant paperwork being completed".

The 22-year-old Belgian, who joined the Red Devils from Stoke in January 2009, spent last season at Portsmouth and will add some defensive cover to the Canaries as they look to stay in the Barclays Premier League.

Norwich boss Paul Lambert told the club's official website, www.canaries.co.uk: "He will be great for us. He is young and one of his main strengths is pace and he comes from a great club where he's played first-team football.

"He'll come in and help the other lads out. He's played a lot of first-team games out on loan last season and I'm sure he'll do great for us."

Lambert had been quick to bolster his attacking options with the capture of forwards James Vaughan, Steve Morison and Brighton winger Elliott Bennett.

De Laet is mainly a centre-back, but can also play on the left and made his United first team debut against Hull on the final day of the 2008/2009 season.

The former Royal Antwerp youngster - who also had brief spells with Sheffield United and Preston - is looking forward to gaining more top-flight experience with the Canaries, promoted as runners-up in the npower Championship.

"I'm really pleased to be able to continue my development as a young player with Norwich, where the manager has given me this chance to come in and fight for a place in the team," he said.

"I know it's going to be very tough because the lads there have done really, really well and it's going to be a big challenge to get into a team which is really used to winning and is a great, tight-knit group.

"The fans there are great as well. I remember that game at Portsmouth when Norwich went up and the fans were superb.

"You could see how much it meant to them and to the club to get back into the Premier League after some difficult years."

Norwich begin their first Premier League campaign since 2004/2005 at Wigan.

De Laet feels there is a real buzz about his new club.

He added: "I am sure everybody can't wait to get going. Every game will be very tough and competitive, that's what the Premier League is all about.

"I am looking forward to joining in with pre-season training and getting to know the rest of the lads as we all start getting down to some serious work and then the friendlies before the Premier League starts."

Lambert admitted the reality of what the Norfolk club had achieved was driven home by this morning's fixtures announcement.

"You look at back-to-back away games at Manchester United and Liverpool in October and that just shows the level we've worked hard to get to," said the Scot, who guided Norwich to the League One title two seasons ago.

"We have earned the right to be here - it is a great challenge and exciting times for the club and the fans."

Lambert has been promised all of the initial £37million television revenue to give the team the best shot of staying up.

Norwich chief executive David McNally said: "The challenge is to earn the right to stay in the league.

"It's about getting points across the course of the season, finishing 17th or better and earning the right to stay in the league.

"The only target is to stay in the league, 17th will be absolutely fine. Whatever points total is needed to finish 17th, that's the aim."

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