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Managing Kevin De Bruyne Imperative for Guardiola

Everton FC v Manchester City - Premier League Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

Injuries are threatening to put the breaks on Kevin De Bruyne’s blossoming career. The Belgian is easily one of the best players in the world and ordinarily should be in the conversation for the best player in the world. The statistics don’t lie.

As per Squawker, Kevin De Bruyne had a tremendous season for Man City in the Premier League in 2017/18:

Most chances created (106)

Most tackles won (62)

Most assists (16)

Most goals from outside the box (5)

Watching De Bruyne on his day marauding around the pitch and tearing down defences at will is enough to convince any doubters he is the real deal.

Be it at club level or on the international stage, the 28-year-old brings it on and puts forth performances only the best players in the world churn out. His recent displays for Belgium have been eye-catching. At City, he is also usually a beast when fit. The problem is: he has been rarely fit in the last 12 months.

A long term knee injury cut short his plans for the campaign early last term. Although City coped quite well in his absence during the long layoff that followed, available and in form, he could have proved vital for the team especially in the Champions League where he played just a few minutes of normal time in the 1-0 loss at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. That defeat ultimately cost City progress in the competition.

So far this season, the team will likely miss the Belgian even more whenever he’s not available. Man City is not quite the same when De Bruyne is not on the pitch. That, especially against tough opposition. The former Wolfsburg man adds width, flair and purpose to the team’s play. He single handedly makes defences jittery as a result of consistent bombardments with defence-splitting passes and crosses that are difficult to handle.

Striking a good understanding with the City front line, he raced to an impressive two goals, eight assists in just seven games so early in the campaign. In City’s loss against Norwich, he was on the substitutes bench. Although he was thrown into the fray in the 57th minute of the encounter, the damage had already been done and the team could not recover. In his next three starts, he scored once and provided four assists.

Then, injury hit.

Wolves came visiting and the team just failed to click. Both upfront and at the back things went bizarrely wrong. For the first time in a long time City failed to score a goal while losing at home. The usual creativity in front of goal was lacking and the team failed to break down Nuno Espirito Santo’s side.

De Bruyne was sorely missed.

Unfortunately, getting injured is now becoming a regular occurrence for the midfielder. That requires proper management of the player to reduce such. It’s something manager Pep Guardiola and his fitness team must get right to keep him as safe as possible. Picking games in which he features and for how long he stays on the pitch is now crucial.

Early signs suggest that the Belgian will be instrumental to the team’s success this season. Therefore, managing him right to keep him playing until season’s end has become imperative.