Thursday 16 August 2018

De Bruyne v Salah: City star has say on Player of the Year debate ahead of Champions League showdown

Kevin de Bruyne and (inset) Mo Salah
Kevin de Bruyne and (inset) Mo Salah

Chris Bascombe

Kevin De Bruyne believes he will be a worthy winner of Player of the Year, but says it is impossible to compare his talent with Liverpool rival Mohamed Salah.

Amid Manchester City and Liverpool's desperation to reach the semi-final of the Champions League, the fight between De Bruyne and Salah to be recognised by their peers offers an absorbing sub-plot.

Whoever comes out on top over the next two weeks will surely influence wavering voters deciding who has been this season's outstanding performer. City's Belgian midfielder is not shy of admitting he thinks he would warrant the accolade.

"Well, if I get it, it would be nice I think for the team and for me. In one way I believe I deserve it, because I have been very consistent in my form," said De Bruyne.

"I am very happy with myself, I am very pleased with how I have played, I didn't expect to be this good this season, to be honest.

"I think there is almost no game where my standard has dropped, so I have been very constant, and I am very happy with myself. To maintain the level the amount of games I have played, the amount of minutes, I am very pleased with that."

De Bruyne also acknowledged Salah credentials, the Egyptian taking his tally for the season to 37 with his latest strike against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

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The City man says it is a thankless task trying to judge who has been most influential.

"You cannot compare – it is impossible. So how do the players choose?" said De Bruyne.

"Everybody has his own opinion. It depends on what people are looking for in a player.

"Salah has a remarkable goalscoring run, and he plays very well like an inside forward type of role, for me. This season he has been incredible.

"To compare us, I don't know. With the statistics how are we going to compare ourselves? It's totally different, I played (against Everton) like a defensive midfielder, how you can compare me to an inside forward? I have no idea.

"He has been outstanding, his record speaks for itself. It's just the way it goes. Luckily I don't have to do that."

There may be some tactical voting at Anfield and The Etihad if team mates of De Bruyne and Salah seek to ensure maximum support for their man.

Recently, Virgil Van Dijk was sheepish when asked if there would be much support for the Belgian midfielder in the Liverpool dressing room.

De Bruyne was similarly non-committal when quizzed where his support is directed – players can not vote for candidates from their own club.

"I haven't voted yet. We didn't vote at City yet," said De Bruyne.

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