Redknapp tells Man City they ‘need’ star to step up in title race as he’ll be ‘deciding factor’

Ciaran McCarthy
Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish, Manchester City, February 2022
Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish walk off the pitch together after game

Jamie Redknapp feels the form of Kevin De Bruyne upon his return could be a “deciding factor” in the title race, as Manchester City “are going to need him” as the season progresses.

De Bruyne has been sidelined since the first game of the Premier League season. He managed just 23 minutes before a hamstring injury forced him out.

While City aren’t particularly struggling without him – second to Arsenal, with a chance to cut the gap to one point – there’s no denying they could be in a better place with him available.

Indeed, he provided 18 league assists – a tally that’s only been bettered on three occasions, once by him – and seven goals last term.

Redknapp feels him returning to the fold the same player he left it as will be crucial for City’s chance of winning the title again this season.

“He will be, I think in this title race, a deciding factor, because they are going to need him as that season goes on, a bit like they needed Gundogan last year when it got really tight, he couldn’t stop scoring goals,” Redknapp said on Sky Sports.

“They needed those moments and I think it’s going to be like that again this year.”

Indeed, Redknapp feels it’ll be crucial that De Bruyne can play with the same freedom, and is able to call upon the same assets, that he’s had throughout his career.

“Kevin De Bruyne’s exceptionally quick, it’s what gives him that edge, a bit like Steven Gerrard, people didn’t realise until you played with him or against him how fast he was, De Bruyne has that ability to just run past people,” Redknapp added.

“When will he start to trust that body and make sure he’s as comfortable as what he was last year, because when he plays, I don’t care what anyone says, he just makes them a different team.

“[Erling] Haaland gets more goals when he’s on the pitch, he’s [De Bruyne] the person that can spot that pass, the right weight of pass, just be decisive in so many different aspects of the game.”

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