We wrote about the future Manchester City star way back in 2010, before he was one of the best in the world.
Talent Scout: Kevin De Bruyne (November 2010)
Thanks to his youthful features and spiky blonde hair, he is a spitting image of Belgium’s most famous son Tintin – and like the cartoon-character sleuth, the 19-year-old Genk attacking midfielder could soon be the subject of an adventure of his own, with Chelsea and Bayern Munich among those on his case.
Part of an impressive new wave of Belgian talent, De Bruyne only became a regular starter for Genk in the second half of last season – but what a six-month masterclass it turned out to be as the self-assured teenager gave a tuneful recital of poise, will to win and creativity.
Whether on the left or through the middle, his technique, explosive energy – particularly when cutting in and letting fly with a powerful right-foot shot – and insatiable desire to be in the thick of the action sparked the club’s domination of the Europa League play-offs.
Previous coach Hein Vanhaezebrouck brought De Bruyne along gently, but his successor Franky Vercauteren saw no need and within days of being appointed in December last year installed him in his first XI.
Despite being tracked by Europe’s big boys, De Bruyne extended his contract until 2015; not that he is likely to stay. As his value rises with each brilliant performance this term, Genk will be unable to resist bids of £10million.
If De Bruyne, who made his national team debut this season, has a fault it is his ego.
After “advising” Vercauteren how he should be best used, his coach slapped him down, saying “Football is a team game. I shouldn’t have to remind him.”
Will De Bruyne learn his lesson?
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