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K. De Bruyne

De Bruyne no longer the solution to all of Man City’s problems – Guardiola explains why Belgian will be dropped at times

15:06 GMT 24/01/2023
Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City
Kevin De Bruyne is no longer the solution to all of Manchester City’s problems, with Pep Guardiola saying he is prepared to drop the midfielder.
  • Belgian remains a talisman for Blues
  • Pulls the playmaking strings
  • Qualities not right for every game

WHAT HAPPENED? The Belgium international has, across close to eight years at the Etihad Stadium, been a talismanic presence for the Blues as a two-time PFA Player of the Year award winner and a four-time Premier League champion. He is, however, now 31 years of age and City have changed their system slightly following the arrival of Erling Haaland in the summer of 2022, meaning that certain games require more end-to-end endeavour than De Bruyne brings from a deep-lying playmaking post.

WHAT THEY SAID: City boss Guardiola has said of including De Bruyne in tactical tweaks, with the Belgian an unused substitute in a recent 4-2 victory over Tottenham: “Seven years we know each other very well. I know when Kevin is ready and sometimes not. It’s normal. There are many games. Sometimes we need another type of player in that position. Sometimes we need more players in the boxes and Kevin struggles a bit right there.

“Kevin, always you expect him to assist the ball - but how many assists does he provide that were not converted, don’t count as an assist but really is? Big competition in the squad. Some games need a specific player that Kevin for example struggles a little bit.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: De Bruyne was substituted after 77 minutes of City’s 3-0 victory over Wolves last time out, but has played some part in 19 of the Blues’ 20 Premier League fixtures this season.

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT? Guardiola’s side, who sit five points behind Arsenal in the Premier League title race, are readying themselves for a meeting with the Gunners in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Friday.

@goalglobal

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