Deemed a flop after his torrid spell with Norwich City, an in-form Ricky van Wolfswinkel returns to England on Tuesday with FC Basel looking to stun Manchester United in the Champions League.

  • By Michael Bell
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The forward never settled at Norwich City after signing for €10 million from Sporting Lisbon in 2013, with two goals in 28 appearances seeing him labeled as one of the club’s most expensive flops ever. The poacher arrived in England with a reputation as a prolific forward after his spells in Portugal and with Utrecht but struggled to adapt to Norwich’s so called “kick and rush” tactics and loan moves to Saint Etienne and Real Betis failed to rekindle the Dutchman’s form.

He returned to Netherlands last summer with his first club Vitesse Arnhem and it proved to be the perfect move to refind his confidence. Van Wolfswinkel netted twenty league goals and another three in the KNVB Cup, including a double in the final which led to Vitesse lifting a major trophy for the first time in their history.

At 28, Van Wolfswinkel was keen for another crack at a foreign league and Swiss champions FC Basel swooped early in the summer to sign him on a three-year deal. The forward, who is clearly brimming with confidence has had an excellent start to the season, netting seven times in the club’s opening seven games.

On Tuesday, Basel travels to Old Trafford to face Manchester United in their Champions League and head coach Raphael Wicky’s believes his star striker can help them cause a big upset. He said, “We face a very strong opponent, but we are confident that we have the ability to take one or even three points back home. Ricky van Wolfswinkel is a very good striker, he is our number one up front and I hope we will be able to score some goals tomorrow.

“I can only judge his record in England by seeing it was not as good as it was in Holland, Portugal, and Switzerland. I only want to judge him from the time he has been in Switzerland and he has been fantastic for us. He is looking fantastic on the field – he is a real striker in the box, he knows where the goal is – but he is also fantastic to have in the team as a personality.”

Van Wolfswinkel has shaken off his time with Norwich City and is one of the most prolific strikers in Europe at the moment. His reputation is being restored and he can make a big claim for a recall to the Dutch national team if he can impress at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.

With Vincent Janssen out of form, Bas Dost out of favour and Robin van Persie injured, is Ricky van Wolfswinkel now the answer for the Netherlands?

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