MX23RW : Wednesday, March 20 23:31:39

De Bruyne will be back sooner than expected – Belgium boss Martinez

The Red Devils coach has also lauds Eden Hazard’s world-class consistency and tells Christian Kabasele his time will come.

Kevin De Bruyne is a naturally quick healer and will be back on the pitch far sooner than initially thought, according to Belgium manager Roberto Martinez.

The Manchester City playmaker injured a ligament in his right knee in training last month and the original prognosis was he would be out of action for at least three months.

But speaking to journalists at the FIFA Football Conference in London on Sunday, Martinez was much more optimistic.

Kevin De Bruyne
Kevin De Bruyne suffered a knee ligament injury during training last month (Nick Potts/PA)

“It was a freak accident, it happens, football is a contact sport,” the 45-year-old former Wigan and Everton boss said.

“The issue is how long he will be out and the reports are very positive. I think we’ll see him on the pitch a lot earlier than other players would take with that injury (and) we think he could be even fresher after his period away.

“No time scale yet but Kevin wants to be on the football pitch as quick as he can and physically he’s got that natural gift of being able to heal quicker than other players.”

Manchester City’s player of the year last season, De Bruyne was also instrumental in Belgium’s World Cup campaign, which ended with victory over England in the third-place play-off.

Last week, the 27-year-old said he still needed “three, four, five weeks, but I’m getting there” and Martinez’s comments suggest it could be the lower end of that scale, which means a possible return after the October international break.

City play Burnley on October 20, then Shakhtar Donetsk, Spurs, Southampton and Shakhtar again, before the Manchester derby on November 11.

Belgium v England – FIFA World Cup 2018 – Third Place Play Off – St Petersburg Stadium
De Bruyne, second right, helped Belgium finish third at this summer’s World Cup (Owen Humphreys/PA)

The conference Martinez was attending in London was scheduled to tie in with Monday’s the Best FIFA Football Awards ceremony, where De Bruyne has a good chance of being included in last season’s World 11.

That dream team has been selected by 25,000 professional footballers from 65 countries and it is entirely possible that De Bruyne’s compatriot Eden Hazard could also make the cut.

Some observers, most notably Hazard’s new boss at Chelsea, Maurizio Sarri, wonder if Hazard should be setting his sights even higher.

Asked if he thought the 27-year-old attacking midfielder should be aiming to win FIFA’s world player-of-the-year prize, Martinez said: “Individual awards are difficult to put a real meaning on them because they’re very subjective.

“Everyone will have their own view but when you see an attacking player with that level of consistency – I think he’s been involved in 26 goals in 26 games for the national team – this is world-class. And that is for a player who is always highlighted by the opposition.

“I’ve seen Eden Hazard at a sensational level at the World Cup and I’ve seen that carry on with Chelsea this season.”

Watford defender Christian Kabasele
Watford defender Christian Kabasele, right, has also caught the eye this season (Nigel French/PA)

Another Belgian player who has caught his eye in the Premier League this season is Christian Kabasele.

The Democratic Republic of Congo-born defender has been a rock for Watford and Martinez admitted he has been “unfortunate” not to add to his single cap in 2016 but was someone “we’re keeping a very close eye on because he’s a fantastic footballer for the future with us”.

Click here for more stories about Christian Kabasele

Click here for more stories about Chelsea

Share this article now:

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
2Manchester CityMan City30242479215874
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs30201957322561
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd30177658401858
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves30128103836244
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham31126134146-542
10Leicester CityLeicester31125144043-341
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3198143140-935
14Crystal Palace3096153641-533
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2996143242-1033
18Cardiff CityCardiff3084182757-3028
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield3135231857-3914

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account