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Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne has admitted to being an “old man” in footballing terms, though the brilliant Belgian has hit back at the critics questioning his form.
De Bruyne’s output this season has been typically stellar and the 31-year-old has scored four goals and created another 12 in the Premier League this season, however, the schemer has lodged just one goal and assist in his last six appearances in the division, which has prompted some observers to criticise his impact.
The two-time PFA Player of the Year was also named as a sub for the second time in six league fixtures for City when he was benched in the champion’s 1-0 win at Crystal Palace at the weekend.
De Bruyne’s fiery response to critics
With De Bruyne in the midst of a dry spell by his own loftier standards, the experienced campaigner spoke about managing expectations, saying:
“Obviously, people have a different standard [for me] to a lot of players. It’s just what it is. People expect me to score every game and assist every game.
“I think I’ve been playing quite well. Maybe there have been fewer assists but I don’t think I’ve been creating less. I don’t really look at these things. I feel fine.
“I think I’m playing alright – maybe not the best I’ve ever played but it’s good. You know the stats – I’ve created the most in the league and have the most assists and I’ve not even played four or five games.
“For me, it is the same. I’ve been doing the same thing for eight years here and 15 years in professional football so I’m feeling fine. I expect more from myself than you guys will ever do.
“You know what people are going to say outside but there’s no pressure. I play football because I like it, not because I have to, so it’s good.”
Belgian maestro still creating chances
De Bruyne saw only 11 minutes of action at Selhurst Park on Saturday, but before that his chance-creating prowess was potent and the midfielder played a sizable 15 key passes in five Premier League runouts.
However, De Bruyne’s defence-splitting deliveries were let down by his teammates finishing during that spell and he collected just one assist despite putting several other chances on a plate.
The ex-Chelsea man says he has been around the block enough times to not let any critique affect him, however, and that he will continue to do what has worked for him for over a decade.
“Whenever I go on the pitch, I try to do what I do always. I don’t feel that I necessarily have to do something different.
“I’m an old man in this game, I know how it is. I’m fine. Obviously you want to play as much as possible but if you don’t play you do the best for 10 minutes and that’s what I did and get the win for the team.
“I don’t have to do anything different. People know who I am after eight years, know what I do for the team, what I’m good at and what I’m not good at.
“I don’t want to do different things that I’m not good at on and off the pitch. Everyone has his role to play and that’s really important to maintain your role.”