5 Characteristics Which Set Kevin De Bruyne Apart as the Best Player in the Premier League


He is currently the talk of town, the man of the hour and the hot property in England's top flight.

Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne has reached new heights in his career this season, going from strength to strength and even exceeding the expectations of those who balked at City paying a club record fee of £55m for him in 2015. 

Fast forward into 2017, and you'd be hard pressed to find a better player than the 26-year-old Belgian international in the Premier League. While he's on an amazing run of form and developing under Pep Guardiola, De Bruyne hasn't yet reached his peak and should get even better. 

He is undoubtedly among the elite in world football and if not in the same hall of greatness as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, he can certainly come close to their level.

So what has made the Belgian so great of late? Here's a few answers...

1. His Distinguished Intelligence

One of the distinctive traits that has made Kevin De Bruyne the best player in the Premier League to date is his intelligence. The 26-year-old is a mastermind. He sees things that others don't and is able to think ahead must faster than most. He knows what to do at the right moment and how to execute it. 

His passes, spatial awareness, movement, shooting and control are exceptional. 

His former coach at Genk, Pierre Denier, said of the player: “Even as a very young player, when I gave him his debut for Genk at 17, he could think so much quicker than the others.”

Hein Vanhaezebrouck, another coach of De Bruyne's at Genk, even compared him to the legendary Johan Cruyff. Not bad eh?

2. His Exemplary Technical Ability

Coupled with his incredible intelligence, De Bruyne's exemplary and near flawless technical ability marks him out from the pack of the Premier League's best. To be able to conceive of the kind of staggering passes he has produced this season alone is one thing, but to have the ability to actually make them a reality is another. 

The stupendous 'blind pass' to Leroy Sané, which eventually led to City's third goal in a 7-2 demolition job against Stoke a couple of weeks ago, is just a sample of the type of ability we're dealing with. The vision, the timing, the guile and the weight on the pass were something to behold. 

In addition to his pristine passing, the Belgian is adept at shooting accurately from range with both feet, possesses a great first touch, mastery of the ball and composure in possession. He is in the words of boss Pep Guardiola, the “complete player”.

3. The Unwavering Consistency

One thing that has always set apart great players in football from generation to generation has been consistency. 

Spurts and flashes of brilliance may catch the eye and dazzle for a brief moment, but it is the regularity of that brilliance which really puts any player among the ranks of the world's best. Game in, game out and week after week of delivering 'A grade' performances is what greats and legends are made of. 

De Bruyne is treading the pathway to that status with his continually impressive displays for Man City. He rarely ever has a bad or shabby game for the Citizens and is one of Guardiola's most reliable players.

4. His Robust Determination

De Bruyne hasn't always had things plain sailing and has had to overcome difficult times throughout his journey to becoming the Premier League's best. He was one of the many that Chelsea let get away. 

After signing for the Blues in January 2012 from Genk, the Belgian endured a frustrating time at Stamford Bridge under the tutelage of former boss José Mourinho, and was restricted to few games in a Chelsea shirt. He was even criticised publicly by Mourinho after a League Cup game away to Swindon Town. 

To compound his misery, he was sent to train with the Under-21s and fell further down the pecking order in the Portuguese's squad. Eventually Wolfsburg came calling and offered £18m for the Belgian in January 2014.

With determination and desire, brighter days came along at Wolfsburg, where he flourished in a playmaking No 10 role, scoring 16 goals and providing 27 assists in his first season at the club. 

He even went on to win Germany's Footballer of the Year award.

5. The Pep Effect

Where José Mourinho failed, Pep Guardiola has suceeded. The Spaniard has again managed to turn a very good player into a great one. Guardiola has brought out the best in De Bruyne and has struck a cord with him tactically. The Belgian is enjoying playing under Pep and has stated.

He's said: “Tactically he’s the best manager I have ever worked with. We think about football in a similar way. I like his style and understand his ideas quickly. That’s one of the reasons I feel so good.” 

Due a lack of defensive options, Guardiola previously shuffled and shifted De Bruyne's position, playing him on the wing, as a false No 9 and even as a wing-back. However, despite all the changes, he ended last season with 18 assists; more than anyone else in the Premier League. 

These days, the Belgian has established himself in a deeper midfield role along with David Silva and is at the heart of all that City do well. In Guardiola's geometrical, triangular system, he dictates and orchestrates play in the middle of park. 

De Bruyne has become more tactically disciplined and has seen his passing accuracy increase from 78% to 84% and continues to dominate the assist charts this season. The Pep effect has truly manifested itself once again.