London: Kevin De Bruyne can’t wait to play a key role in Manchester City’s bid for a third successive Premier League title as the Belgian star finally returns to peak form and fitness.
Pep Guardiola’s side start their title defence Saturday at West Ham with Kevin De Bruyne providing a reassuring presence for the champions.
Manchester City have bolstered their treble-winning squad with the 62 million pound club record signing of Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodri, while also adding accomplished Juventus full-back Joao Cancelo.
But the prospect of Kevin De Bruyne driving Manchester City forward from midfield is a mouthwatering prospect for Pep Guardiola. The 28-year-old was an influential figure in City’s 2017-18 Premier League title triumph, but he had only a bit-part role in last season’s domestic dominance due to knee and muscular injuries.
De Bruyne made just 22 starts in all competitions before returning to prove he was still a force to be reckoned with by winning the man of the match award in City’s FA Cup final thrashing of Watford. He is confident those injury issues are behind him after proving to be one of the stand-out players during City’s pre-season tour.
“I’m fine. What happened last year happens to everybody. I have been a professional for 11 years now and had one season where I had some injuries,” De Bruyne told reporters. “I just get on with it. Now I feel good. I’m happy I could play a whole pre-season.”
With De Bruyne back in their line-up, Manchester City look more formidable than ever – quite a feat after they amassed 198 points over their last two Premier League title-winning seasons.
If they can retain the EPL crown, Manchester City will become only the fifth team in the history of English football to clinch three consecutive top-flight titles, after Huddersfield, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United (twice).
De Bruyne challenged City to maintain the relentless consistency that carried them to last season’s title with 14 successive league wins. “You don’t need to be better, you need to be consistent,” De Bruyne asserted. “At the end of the year, with all the competitions, maybe you don’t need 95 or 100 points.
“Maybe teams get more points out of each other and you win it with 85, just because the competition is that high. You need to be just one point ahead of the other ones and whatever you need to do, you need to do. I think Liverpool will be up there, but they all will be there. We have to be consistent,” added the midfielder.