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Tuesday 15 October 2019

Fit-again De Bruyne set for season

HAPPY: Kevin De Bruyne. Pic: Reuters
HAPPY: Kevin De Bruyne. Pic: Reuters

Kevin De Bruyne feels ready for the new campaign after playing a full part in Manchester City's pre-season tour of Asia.

The midfielder, the key player in City's 2018 title victory, played only a bit-part in last season's treble success due to knee and muscular injuries.

But De Bruyne (28) now hopes those issues are behind him after proving to be one of the stand-out players of the four games City have played in the Far East over the past fortnight.

The Belgian, who scored a goal and set up another in Saturday's 3-1 win over sister club Yokohama F Marinos in Japan, said: "I'm fine. What happened last year happens to everybody. I have been a professional for 11 years now and had one season where I had some injuries.

"But by the end of the year I still played 32 games, while a lot of players only do that every year. I just get on with it.

"Now I feel good. I'm happy I could play a whole pre-season. I've played four games."

City faced familiar opposition in West Ham and Wolves in the Premier League Asia Trophy in China but both games lacked intensity and they then enjoyed an easy 6-1 win over Hong Kong side Kitchee.

The Yokohama clash was different, with the side currently second in the J-League providing more of a test in a vibrant atmosphere at the Nissan Stadium, the venue which hosted the 2002 World Cup final.

"It was a really good game," added De Bruyne, who opened the scoring in the 19th minute. "I was very impressed how Yokohama played. They're right in the middle of their season, so physically they are much better than us and they gave us a good game.

"I'm happy with the way we performed here. We've had a tough schedule the past two weeks. We needed this game to get more rhythm and it was a good game to end the pre-season."

De Bruyne's strike was cancelled out by Keita Endo but the Belgian played in Raheem Sterling to put City ahead before half-time. Lukas Nmecha bundled in a third late on.

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