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Kevin De Bruyne opens up on five-month injury absence: ‘I’m basically a taxi driver’

The Manchester City midfielder admitted he did not enjoy his lengthy spell on the sidelines

Richard Jolly
Senior Football Correspondent
Monday 08 January 2024 12:00 GMT
Guardiola welcomes return of ‘unique’ Kevin De Bruyne: 'These guys win games'

Kevin De Bruyne said he was “basically a taxi driver” during his five months on the sidelines and hopes to turn his longest break from football in a decade to his advantage.

The midfielder made his comeback for Manchester City as a substitute in Sunday’s 5-0 win over Huddersfield after suffering a hamstring injury in their Premier League opener at Burnley and then undergoing surgery.

De Bruyne, who confirmed that Kyle Walker will carry on as captain with him as vice-captain on his return, missed 28 games for City and described their results as “alright” but admitted he did not enjoy being a spectator.

“I can watch whatever football and I watched every game but I don’t like it,” he said. “It’s not like I needed a break but I took it, to turn a disadvantage into an advantage. When I reflect on my career, playing the last 10 years non-stop with a short break, maybe it was good for me to reset a little bit in a way and take care of myself when it is not really possible during the year.”

De Bruyne’s 2023 was interrupted by a series of hamstring injuries, with one forcing him to come off in the first half of the Champions League final.

Kevin De Bruyne was forced off during the Champions League final (Getty Images)

He explained: “Whenever I was training in Japan or for the Community Shield and Burnley, everything was fine. I had three hamstrings in a row but they were nowhere near the same place. I had so much scar tissue that it could snap at any moment.”

The 32-year-old will have a discussion with manager Pep Guardiola about how much he plays and said he is likely to be a substitute at Newcastle on Saturday.

He added: “I don’t expect to be playing too many games and Newcastle next week is a big game so I’ll expect to be back on the bench. I want to play every game but I know in the back of my mind I need to take care of myself.”

De Bruyne said he had spent much of his time off on parental duty, adding: “When you have three kids between three and seven, I’m basically a taxi driver. I enjoyed it. I think they enjoyed that Daddy could watch the games and now it will be harder for the missus and everyone to work around the programme.

“I could enjoy the things that I’ve not been able to do with my family and friends and took it that way. Maybe it was good to refresh a little bit. No new hobbies but it was nice to bring my son and daughter to their practices and see their games, what they do. I could go on holiday, which is never possible normally during the year.”

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