Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 30 May 2020

Kevin de Bruyne - 'if we restart immediately everybody will be injured after a few games'

Manchester City star would rather cancel the season than risk injuries

Kevin de Bruyne has said he would rather scrap this season than cause problems for next year as he warned that trying to rush footballers back into action would bring a rash of injuries.

The Manchester City midfielder has said that the break, caused by coronavirus, has persuaded him to extend his career by two years as he recognised how much he is missing football.

And while the Premier League is only officially suspended until April 30, the Belgium playmaker admitted he is unsure when he will play again and thinks the 2019-20 campaign may have to be curtailed, as it has been in his home country, with Club Brugge named champions.

With 16, De Bruyne is closing in on Thierry Henry’s Premier League record of 20 assists in a season but he feels the best scenario could be to move on to 2020-21.

De Bruyne told the Belgian newspaper Het Laaste Nieuws: “I would feel sad if the season is stopped after such a good year, but if it avoids issues for next season, it must be done.

“I know that there’s lots of money involved. But I think that waiting so long to make a decision can cause issues next season. There won’t be a long summer break and you can just postpone everything.”

While players have been working out from home, with De Bruyne swimming a kilometre a day and running for six or seven kilometres on his treadmill, he feels that a sudden restart to complete the season would result in a series of injuries.

He added: “I have no idea when we will be playing again. You haven’t played for six weeks. Normally you’d need a preparation of three-to-four weeks. If we restart immediately then everybody will be injured after a few games. That cannot be the intention.”

You’d need a preparation of three-to-four weeks

Kevin de Bruyne

However, he is not concerned that he will struggle to get back to his best whenever football resumes, adding: “I am not that afraid of my own shape. Once you start playing football again, that level will come back.”

De Bruyne revealed he has self-isolated after his wife Michele and sons Mason and Rome developed symptoms of Covid-19, though all three are fine now.

He explained: “Most importantly, everyone is healthy. There were symptoms two weeks ago. First the youngest son was ill, then the oldest and then my wife. No idea if they had corona, but we isolated ourselves and now everyone is back as they should be.”

De Bruyne said he missed the contact with his team-mates as looking after his energetic children adds to his fitness regime.

He added: “I am not used to being at home often. This is the first time since I was 14 that I spend every day in my house. Normally, like everyone else, you have that daily routine and the team you work with.

“How do I keep active? By running behind the little men from morning to night. I spend a lot of time with them, but I also see that they draw closer to each other because they have to keep each other busy. That's nice.”

De Bruyne supported Uefa’s decision to postpone Euro 2020 for a year, believing it is a far better solution than cancelling the tournament and arguing it will make players still more motivated to win it.

“A year's difference is not dramatic,” he said. “Had they missed the European Championship and we went straight to the World Cup, it would have been a problem. Many of us have also seen with this quarantine what it feels like after a football career. They will now have motivated to give everything an extra year.”

Updated: April 2, 2020 04:29 PM

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