Former Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney has described Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne as one of the top three players in the world right now.
He’s also compared the Belgium international with United and Liverpool legends Ryan Giggs and Steven Gerrard.
De Bruyne didn’t always have a happy time in England, but he returned to the Premier League 2015 to join Manchester City, hoping it wouldn’t be a reoccurrence of his ill-fated spell with Chelsea.
Since joining City he has scored 56 goals and registered 89 assists. All in 220 appearances.
The former Wolfsburg midfielder has been the driving force behind Pep Guardiola’s side for the past two years, and he’ll be seeking European glory before the season ends.
“You watch, when he’s in possession in space other players start running and that’s the biggest compliment you can pay a midfielder,” Rooney wrote in his latest column for The Times.
“When I played with Ryan Giggs and Giggsy got the ball, I made runs because I knew he’d try and find me, and if it came off he’d get me through on goal. De Bruyne is like that. Teams think they can force him to play it to the side but he can squeeze those passes through the smallest gaps.”
Rooney also believes Bruyne can be compared to ex-Liverpool captain Gerrard, adding: “There’s no doubt Man City’s biggest weapon is De Bruyne, arguably one of the top three players in the world right now.
“Playing against him was never, ever, easy and I’ll always remember Everton using me and Morgan Schneiderlin, in a 4-4-2, against a City midfield of Be Bruyne, David Silva and Fernandinho, with Sterling dropping in.
“They absolutely outnumbered us. Me and Schneiderlin were in the middle of the pitch saying, ‘What’s going on here?!’ We were 3-0 down after 37 minutes and had 18 per cent possession in the game.
“Be Bruyne reminds me a bit of Steven Gerard. He drifts out to the right-hand side and plays some brilliant balls whipped in, like Stevie used to. What I like most is he takes chances, he takes risks, he doesn’t go for the easy ball — he plays the hard pass.”
I think Rooney, at that stage of his career, in a midfield duo with Schneiderlin was a recipe for disaster. And, of all teams to set up that way when playing against, it’s only going to end one way.