Belgium manager Roberto Martinez has expressed his surprise at Kevin De Bruyne losing out on Player of the Year awards to Liverpool star Mo Salah.
According to the Mirror, Martinez was full of praise for the midfielder, stating: “I was surprised De Bruyne didn’t beat Salah to the Player of the Year. Mo has had an incredible season, the best season in his career.
“But Kevin almost came into a new way of working with Pep Guardiola, who has a really strong connection with him, and he influenced a lot of things. This is a team that has broken all the records in the Premier League.”
De Bruyne certainly played a pivotal role in Manchester City‘s incredible season, providing 16 assists, the most of any player in the Premier League.
Martinez eluded to this record, going on to say: “Individual awards are given for individual performances, but those individual performances come as part of a team in what is a team sport and Kevin, in the early part of the season, was magnificent.”
“I understand what Mo did, but, out of the two, Kevin probably has the bigger effect over the season.”
Martinez will be hoping De Bruyne can replicate his stunning Premier League form at this summer’s World Cup, where Belgium will be hoping to qualify from their group against England, Panama and Tunisia and go far in the knockout stages.
De Bruyne will have to face Manchester City teammates John Stones and Kyle Walker against England in Group G of the World Cup.
According to the Mirror, Martinez was full of praise for his former player Stones, stating: “It was a really interesting journey to see him grow and taking responsibility and get to the level he has got to. He has a big future”.