Tuesday 20 February 2018

Kevin de Bruyne focus

Kevin de Bruyne was on the scoresheet for Manchester City
Kevin de Bruyne was on the scoresheet for Manchester City

Manchester City forward Kevin de Bruyne, at £55million, became the Premier League's second most expensive player when he signed from Wolfsburg towards the conclusion of the summer transfer window.

Here, Press Association Sport assesses if he justified his transfer fee during City's 4-1 Premier League defeat at Tottenham.


There is little question De Bruyne was recruited for his abilities in the final third and, with him usually likely to remain wide on the right alongside David Silva and Raheem Sterling as one of three forwards behind a lone striker - Yaya Toure will likely routinely be used as a defensive midfielder - he provides a directness Silva and Sterling sometimes lack. De Bruyne encouragingly played with as few touches as possible at White Hart Lane, as was demonstrated by the 24-year-old's fine finish when giving City the lead with a first-time strike beyond Hugo Lloris. He looked less comfortable playing as a number 10, however, after Toure was substituted, and City looked less effective with him there. He may still be adjusting to the Premier League but he showed few signs of the vision and ability to dictate tempo and play that the best number 10s possess.


From his starting position, playing in front of Bacary Sagna, even with Spurs' Son Heung-Min and Christian Eriksen rotating between playing through the middle and wide on the left, De Bruyne appeared to have few defensive responsibilities. City, incidentally, had started with Yaya Toure, Fernandinho and Fernando, which helped him in that respect, but De Bruyne was still at fault in the build-up to Spurs' equalising goal, when a misplaced pass - not the first of his afternoon - gifted possession to goalscorer Eric Dier. Early in the second half, however, he impressed in preventing a potential Spurs counter-attack by tracking back and making a well-timed challenge.


Yaya Toure starting at number 10, instead of David Silva, reduced City's flexibility, but De Bruyne's positioning was largely excellent, and he still occasionally rotated with Raheem Sterling, who started wide left. In contrast to Jesus Navas, who he has so far replaced in City's first XI, De Bruyne showed his ability to read his new team-mates well, playing a lot of one-touch football which included a reasonable variety to his passing and the timing for his run when scoring CIty's goal.


This was another demonstration of his potential, but far more is required if De Bruyne is to prove good value as the most expensive player in an already-expensive squad. The Belgian had a fine first half, despite his role in Spurs' equalising goal, scoring with a quality finish and playing with ambition, but his influence waned as City's performance deteriorated. That he finished the game playing through the centre, however, did not help.

Press Association

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