Following his five-month injury layoff, Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City concedes that he is “nowhere near” his best yet.
In the second half of City’s 5-0 victory over Huddersfield in the FA Cup third round on Sunday, De Bruyne entered the game off the bench.
The Belgium star, making his Premier League debut for the first time since August 1st against Burnley, was handed the final 33 minutes of play and rapidly reverted to his previous form, setting up City’s fifth goal for Jeremy Doku.
After making worse a condition that had bothered him late in the previous season’s treble-winning campaign, De Bruyne underwent hamstring surgery.
De Bruyne added that even if he is back to full fitness, it will take him some time to reach his peak.
“I’m glad to be back, and I worked very hard.” He remarked, “I’m happy that I felt good, but I’m still not where I should be.
It’s an excellent continuation of the previous few weeks’ work. All I really wanted was to feel comfortable doing what I was doing, and I feel good about the moves I was making.
“You get more of a rush when you receive that applause after being absent for five months. There will be times when I want to play every game, but I have to remind myself that I need to look after myself.
“Having fewer games in January is a good thing. I don’t plan to participate in too many games, and since Newcastle is a major game the next week, I anticipate returning to the bench.”
At the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, De Bruyne was welcomed by City supporters as if he were a returning hero.
For the majority of the season, City has not played at its best while he has been away.
With De Bruyne back in the mix, they should expect to make a stronger push to win the FA Cup and Champions League, as well as attempt an incredible fourth straight Premier League crown.
Despite the setback, De Bruyne thinks that the rejuvenating recuperation could benefit him in the long run because of his recent busy schedule for both club and country.
“To be honest, I kind of liked it. Although it was a huge blow at first, I understood I would be away for four or five months,” he remarked.
“So, following my first reaction, I told myself that in order to appreciate the things that I haven’t been able to do with my family and friends, I needed to work hard when I’m working.
“Perhaps a quick refresh was in order. Even though I didn’t need the break, I nonetheless used it to my advantage to overcome a setback.”