May 3, 2020 / 9:59 AM / a month ago

De Bruyne eyes swift return to action

(Reuters) - Kevin De Bruyne believes Manchester City could resume training in a fortnight, that the Premier League will finish the season despite the coronavirus crisis and that his club’s European ban will be overturned.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Carabao Cup Final - Aston Villa v Manchester City - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - March 1, 2020 Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne REUTERS/David Klein/File Photo

The midfielder is also pleased Belgium coach Roberto Martinez has extended his contract and says he is not interested in a move.

The 28-year-old, speaking to Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws, predicted the Premier League season will be concluded unlike the campaigns in France, the Netherlands and his native Belgium.

“My feeling is that we may be able to train again within two weeks,” he said.

“The government wants to restart football as soon as possible to give the people something, but it will be played without spectators I think.

“The financial aspect is far too important for the Premier League and if the season is not complete, it will cause serious problems.”

De Bruyne’s Manchester City team mate Sergio Aguero said last week he was scared about returning.

“Gosh, I don’t think they are really afraid for themselves, but for their families,” De Bruyne said. “That is the problem for many people. Everyone will be tested once we start playing again.”

De Bruyne had been in excellent form before the suspension.

“When the league resumes, I don’t really see it as an extension of the season. It feels more like the start of a new season,” the Belgian international said.

“I have never stood still for so long in my career but I’m not making a big deal out of it. Greater powers are at work and whatever is said and decided, I will agree with.”

On Manchester City’s ban from European club competition for the next two years due to breaches of financial fair play regulations, he said: “The club is appealing and have told us they are almost 100% sure that they are right. I trust the club.”

Martinez staying as coach of top-ranked Belgium was a logical move after the European Championship was postponed to next year, De Bruyne added.

“Maybe he would have gone off and done something different if the European Championship was played this year, but we have a project, which is far from complete. Stopping now would be weird.”

As to his own future, De Bruyne is very content at City.

“I play for one of the best teams in the world; I play in England, in my view, the best competition, and I like that,” he said. “It remains a challenge to be the best and I need that.”

Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Ed Osmond

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