BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Kevin De Bruyne is concerned about the risk of picking up another injury when Belgium take on Kazakhstan on Saturday and Scotland next week in Euro 2020 qualification.
The Manchester City midfielder battled through the season as he suffered two serious knee injuries and then a hamstring problem, limiting his contribution to his club’s sweep of three domestic trophies.
He said playing again following a three week break after coming on as a 55th minute substitute in the FA Cup final thrashing of Watford, was risky.
“It’s not ideal to have three weeks off and then play two matches in a matter of days,” De Bruyne, 27, told a news conference ahead of Saturday’s match in Brussels.
The Belgians then host Scotland at the King Baudouin Stadium on Tuesday in Group I.
“This hasn’t really been planned out properly although we players have no say in the matter. We have to be careful that no one gets injured and goes to their holiday, or to their pre-season preparations next month, with problems.”
The match against Kazakhstan will be his first for Belgium since helping them to third place at last year’s World Cup.
De Bruyne said his injuries had been frustrating.
“I started the season and then had the first injury. That cost me five months and then I came back and played 8-10 matches in a month. Maybe that was a little too much.
“Naturally it was no fun being on the sidelines so long but at least once I recovered I was able to help the team.”
De Bruyne missed 29 games for City in the season but that did not necessarily make him fresher for the two Euro 2020 qualifiers, he told reporters.
“I think being injured is sometimes more exhausting than regularly playing. So I don’t feel any fresher than anyone else but I feel good, certainly not tired, but I am looking forward to a real holiday. I had a lot of frustration in the season but I was glad I could at least end it positively,” De Bruyne added.
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Keith Weir)