Melbourne City head coach Warren Joyce has heaped praise on international marquee Ritchie De Laet who, despite carrying an injury, scored the winner and continues to contribute.

Joyce revealed during the week De Laet has been playing through pain after being diagnosed with an injury which should have seen him out for two months.

The 30-year-old is being managed by the club to ensure he is on the way towards a full recovery and according to Joyce has refused to rest despite the injury, wanting to do everything he can to contribute for the team.

Joyce made the bold move of playing De Laet as a striker on Friday and while the former Leicester defender was caught offside on the odd occasion, the move paid off as it was De Laet’s goal which separated the two sides after 90 minutes.

De Laet started his career as a forward and considering his injury it seemed like a logical solution playing him in such an advanced position.

“He’s played there before and scored hat-tricks in reserves games,” Joyce said

“He was told he’d be out for two months but didn’t choose to rest he wants to play.

“He’s shown a great deal of selflessness because he’s putting his career at risk.

“If it had gone pear shaped he would have gone back to England with no contract and injured.

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“He’s alright now but we just have to manage him through it.

“He has shown a real desire to come to Australia and play.”

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De Laet’s fourth goal of the season and matchwinner came in the 52nd minute from a Rostyn Griffiths cross across the box after City had threatened to score throughout the first half.

In addition to De Laet’s performance on the field Joyce also praised his leadership and determination to contribute for the club, something he believes other players who come as marquees can learn from.

“He’s not here for the money,” Joyce said.

“It would have been easy for him not play but he’s really put himself out there.

“He’s put himself on the line these last few week.

“We’ve been playing him in a variety of positions and he’s done well despite not totally fit.

“He wants to be there for the club.

“You get some players who want to do everything for the club and that’s Ritchie.”

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