De Bruyne one of the best midfielders in the world, says Meunier

The Manchester City star is expected to play a key role for Belgium at the World Cup in Russia after helping his club side win the Premier League

Kevin De Bruyne has been hailed as one of the top midfielders in the world by his Belgium team-mate Thomas Meunier.

The Manchester City star narrowly missed out on the PFA Player of the Year award to Mo Salah, but he was an integral part of City’s season as they won the Premier League and the Carabao Cup.

The midfielder provided 16 assists and eight league goals this season and his consistent top-class performances over the past four campaigns have led to many calling him the best midfielder in world football.

Paris Saint-Germain full-back Meunier has been continually impressed by his national team colleague and feels De Bruyne is still getting better as he prepares to make an impact in the World Cup.

"Clearly, yes!" Meunier told Goal when asked if he considers De Bruyne to be one of the best midfielders in the world. "He’s a very smart player, right foot, left foot, very complete with an exceptional physical capacity.

"He has a lot of assists. He’s the type of player who can change a game, we saw it in the Champions League for example.

"He’s improving all the time. I’ve known him since he was a Genk player, then he went to Germany and…he’s never dropped a notch. He’s consistent and, to me, he deserves this status as a big player in the Premier League."

Belgium are one of the teams fancied to go far in Russia and, if they go on to lift the trophy, it would be their first World Cup triumph.

Meunier believes getting to the semi-finals is a realistic aim for Belgium, saying: "There’s nothing in our team that another one wouldn’t envy. We’ve got good individuals, mentality, physical assets, statistics, the collective.

"We have everything. We only miss two or three per cent to reach perfection but I think that the semi-finals stage is plausible.

"But, of course, if we meet Brazil in the quarter-finals and we lose 1-0 with 50% of possession, don’t blame us. If we get a normal scenario, we’ve got our chance to reach the semi-finals."

Meunier is used as a wing-back for Belgium in a 3-5-2 system which Roberto Martinez has introduced since the former Everton boss replaced Marc Wilmots as coach following their Euro 2016 campaign.

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"We play with three defenders whereas we used to play 4-3-3," added Meunier. "The philosophy also, I rarely see someone as positive as him, he supports us a lot. He also points out failures, of course. He makes lots of analysis, lots of tactics, above all now to get ready for the World Cup.

"The communication has changed also, as they all speak in English, as he came with his Everton staff. I think it’s a good choice, he’s a young coach.

"It’s not the Spanish school as he always lived in England, but he loves football, possession, domination and that’s what this team need because all the players want to play, not to counter-attack."