Kevin De Bruyne determined not to let level drop despite burnout fears

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Kevin De Bruyne has promised to maintain his high standards at Manchester City next season, despite his workload being increased by a winter World Cup.

The 30-year-old midfielder could potentially play close to 80 games next season if Belgium and City were to go all the way in every competition.

De Bruyne criticised the Nations League last week, saying four matches in 10 days at the end of a long season was “asking for trouble” and that he had not had a holiday “for eight or nine years”.

Wales v Belgium – UEFA Nations League – Group 4 – Cardiff City Stadium
Kevin De Bruyne played his final game of the season as Belgium drew 1-1 with Wales in the Nations League on Saturday (David Davies/PA)

Wales captain Gareth Bale referenced De Bruyne’s potential 79-game season next term in saying that “crazy” demands on players were sparking burnout fears.

But De Bruyne, who has won 10 trophies at City and been in the PFA Premier League team of the year for the last three seasons, said: “The last 10 years have been unbelievable for me.

“I don’t know what I can do to be better. I just have to do what I need to do for my job at City and Belgium.

“The level was good and I am going to try and do the same.”

Wales Press Conference and Training – Vale Resort – Friday June 10th
Gareth Bale referenced Kevin De Bruyne’s potential workload next season before Saturday’s Wales-Belgium game (Nick Potts/PA)

Bale, speaking ahead of the Wales-Belgium Nations League game on Saturday, called for football’s authorities to act now over reducing the number of games or face the consequences.

The former Real Madrid star said “people’s bodies can’t deal with that sort of calendar year after year”.

De Bruyne, however, remains philosophical about the situation, saying: “It is what it is. Obviously when people ask me a question I will give you my honest answer.

“People will take it good or bad. I don’t care. I know nothing is going to change.

“Even with what I have said, I have played three games at the top of my physical level and I’m probably one of the only ones with Axel (Witsel) who has played these three games for Belgium.

“So physically I am fine. But it just doesn’t make any sense.”

De Bruyne has been excused from Belgium’s final game of the season, away to Poland in the Nations League on Wednesday.

But, after a short summer break, he will return to City for pre-season training and continue the quest for more silverware at the Etihad Stadium.

He said: “You are never going to play 79 games. It’s not possible.

“But it’s not only playing games, it’s the training, it’s the travelling, it’s everything.

“Sometimes you go away and travel, but you do not play.

“That is even exhausting. In the end you have to take it like it is.”

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