Wigan move puts De Ridder back with Bruce


Dutch midfielder Daniel De Ridder has made a swift return to the Barclays Premier League, after leaving relegated Birmingham City to join his former boss Steve Bruce at Wigan Athletic on a free transfer.

After signing a three-year deal with the club, he said he had made up his mind “seconds” after picking up the phone to Bruce.

The 24-year-old Holland under 21 international, who can play in a variety of positions, said “Steve is a great manager, and when he says he wants you, you say, where do I sign?

“When you look at what he has achieved in the game and his track record in management, it’s clear he understands the game.

“I worked with him last year, I know he’s a great man manager, and he knows how to get the best out of his players.”

De Ridder had also been in talks with Israeli Premiere League side Maccabi Tel Aviv. But after speaking to Bruce and fellow countryman Mario Melchiot, there was no doubt in his mind that he was heading to the Lancashire club.

 “Mario said it is a great club with supporters who care deeply about their team, and who have made him really welcome. Of course, the attraction of being in the Barclays Premier League is where every professional footballer wants to be.

“I got a taste of it last season at Birmingham but after a couple of niggling injuries I never felt I got the chance to prove what I can do at this level.”

“My focus is going to be completely on doing well for Steve and the people of Wigan.”

De Ridder, who is currently back home in Holland preparing for the new season will join the team next Wednesday for pre-season training and could make his debut in Wigan’s opening game against West Ham in August.

“I know it is going to be really tough to get into the squad but I can’t wait to get started, to meet everybody and start my new life as a Wigan Athletic player.”   

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