Yesterday we saw Kevin De Bruyne make his first Premier League appearance for Chelsea, and for the rest of the teams in the league it’s a performance they might want to consider taking a closer look at.
The 22-year-old has been on the Chelsea books for a while now having signed in January 2012 from Belgian club Racing Genk for a deal rumoured to be around £7 million.
Chelsea allowed him to stay on loan there for the remainder of the season having decided they didn’t need him just yet. De Bruyne finished his Genk career with 17 goals and 36 assists in 107 appearances.
He arrived back at Chelsea again for pre-season training, but again, was sent out of loan to secure more regular first-team football - this time at German side Werder Bremen. The young Belgian international soon established himself as a first-team regular in the Bundesliga, finishing the season with 10 goals and 10 assists in all competitions.
Speculation grew over the summer regarding interest from Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen, who Chelsea had just signed winger Andre Schurrle from.
But Jose Mourinho decided to keep him at Stamford Bridge, and after an impressive preseason and Juan Mata carrying a knock, De Bruyne was given the role between the middle of an attacking midfield with Oscar and fellow countryman Eden Hazard.
Straight from the off he made an impact playing interchanging passes and constantly swapping positions with Oscar and Hazard – the Hull defence couldn’t cope with their movement at all.
After 13 minutes came a brilliant piece of play between him and Eden Hazard, which resulted in De Bruyne controlling then quickly poking the ball through Hull’s James Chester’s legs into the path of the oncoming Oscar to slot the ball past Allan McGregor and into the net for Chelsea’s opening goal of the season.
Along with great vision and movement, he also isn’t frightened to take a shot on goal when he gets a chance – much like Frank Lampard. He’s also strong and quick, which will bode well for him in the physical nature of the Premier League.
Coming into already arguably the best midfield in the league means it’s a big step up for Kevin De Bruyne, so he won’t be expecting to play week-in-week out. But with the confidence he showed on his debut there is no way this young man is going to give up his place without a fight.
With fellow countrymen Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku in the mix at Chelsea this could be a great chance for Belgian to watch three of their future stars grow and develop together at club level.
Kevin De Bruyne’s mother was born in Ealing, which is just a couple of miles away from Stamford Bridge. By the end of the season Roy Hodgson and all England finds might be left thinking ‘what if he had chosen to play for England?’
Either way he is going to be at the top of the list of young players to watch out for this season.
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