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Last Updated: Friday, 25 January 2008, 16:44 GMT
Levein is reunited with de Vries
Dundee Utd manager Craig Levein and striker Mark de Vries
Levein and de Vries have worked together at two other clubs
Craig Levein has signed Mark de Vries for a third time and has backed the striker brought in from Leicester City to be a success with Dundee United.

The Surinam-born 32-year-old has signed a contract until the end of the season.

"Mark has done a great job for me in the past and I'm delighted to get him," said Levein.

"I tried for him a year ago. But because he was playing for Leicester again it wasn't possible, but things have changed."

De Vries, who worked under United manager Craig Levein at Leicester and Hearts, has spent two separate loan spells with Leeds this season.

But a troublesome foot injury has limited his first-team appearances at Elland Road.

When Craig first got the job here, people started joking with me and asking when I was signing for United

Dundee United striker Mark de Vries

De Vries joined Hearts in May 2002 after signing a pre-contract agreement from Dutch Second Division side Dordrecht '90.

The striker, who has also enjoyed spells at Dutch clubs Den Haag and Heerenveen, left Hearts for Leicester in 2004.

"Everyone knows we've been struggling a bit up front, not in terms of scoring goals but with lacking a real physical presence and strength in attack," said Levein.

"I've been looking for someone to hold the ball up and give us an outlet when we're under pressure.

"He's also scored a lot of goals as well, so he fits the bill of what I've been after.

"He knows the league well and, although some of the faces have changed, he'll settle in quickly.

"We're a young squad, so experience is vital and Mark brings that. He ticks the right boxes I've been looking to fill."

Although De Vries was a huge hit at Tynecastle, he struggled to replicate that success at Leicester, although Levein believes that was due to difficult circumstances.

"At Leicester, we were struggling for results and what tends to happen is that people focus on the signings I made," said Levein.

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"So, when a new manager comes in, the easiest thing is for him to take them out of the team.

"Leicester change managers so often that he was in and out of the team all the time.

"I don't think he got a run of games long enough for him to make the impact he was capable of making.

"He's had a couple of injuries recently so hasn't played for a while, but he's trained with us and, although he's a bit rusty, he'll get up to speed before long."

De Vries, who has not played for two months because of a broken toe, admits he always suspected Levein would move for him.

"When Craig first got the job here, people started joking with me and asking when I was signing for United," said the striker.

"I always hoped it would happen and that I would be able to get back to enjoying my football again."

SEE ALSO
Leeds re-sign Leicester striker
12 Nov 07 |  Leeds United
Injury halts De Vries loan spell
25 Oct 07 |  Leicester City
Leicester swoop for Hearts pair
06 Jan 05 |  Leicester City


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