He has been the best player at the club by far, for several seasons now. He is the one player that makes the absolute difference whenever on the pitch. Sometimes, it seems everything revolves around him. Kevin De Bruyne has become the go-to man for Manchester City to get the job done or set the ball rolling when the team must respond to a dire situation..
The departure of club captain Fernandinho means that the Belgian has now become the oldest member of the squad. Oldest, not in terms of age, of course, but in terms of his longevity at the club. That makes him the last of the old guard remaining, so to say.
He certainly can tell others a thing or two about those that were there before they arrived and how they all helped shape a new era of winning, at the Etihad Stadium.
It is only fitting that the Belgian should command the respect of his teammates and be the undisputed leader amongst the players both in the dressing room and on the pitch.
He showed a glimpse of how much he can lead from the front as he captained the team to victory against Club America and Bayern Munich in the pre-season friendlies. His performance showed he is raring to go and can’t wait to be the main man again in the new season for the club.
Although all eyes have been on the new frontman Erling Haaland, De Bruyne’s role remains critical to the success of the team in the new campaign and onwards.
Manchester City’s captaincy selection follows a unique pattern whereby the players vote for the leadership team consisting of players selected by the team through an election.
The group of captains is usually made up of five players ranked from 1st to 5th. The ranking is based on how many votes each player gets from the whole team. They are selected in an election where the player with the most votes emerges as the captain. The one with the next highest number of votes is vice and so on.
heading into the election before the new season kicks off, Pep Guardiola has tipped Kevin De Bruyne as the standout candidate to spearhead the new leadership team.
“I’m pretty sure Kevin will have a key role in the team - as the player who has been here the longest and for the responsibility he takes on the pitch and in many cases off the pitch,” Guardiola stated in a recent interview. “I don’t pick. In the beginning I picked the fifth, now I don’t pick - they pick. It’s no question of favourites, what the team decide is perfect, what the staff decide I’m happy.
“They have to defend the team when they don’t agree with the manager. I love the captains being decided by them, not me. It belongs to them, in the locker room. I never vote. The only person who doesn’t vote is me. What they decide is perfect, not a problem.”
Whatever happens in the election among the players, whether the 31-year old is voted as the captain or not, what has become undeniable is the fact that among the players, he is the undisputed leader of the group.