The Belgium international midfielder says he was worn down by two years of football and needed to take some time away from the game

Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne says having a break from the game will allow him to return to the Premier League champions mentally refreshed and free from the injury problems that blighted his 2018-19 season.

The Belgium international was limited to 11 starts in the league last term, after being City’s Player of the Year the previous season.

He took three weeks off this summer, his first break from the game in almost two years after he played a vital part in Belgium reaching the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup.

He impressed on Man City’s pre-season tour of Asia, and credits time spent with family and friends as key to his preparations.

“I ran the first week after national team and then I did nothing for three weeks,” he told the press after City’s final pre-season friendly in Japan.

“I just wanted to be away. I run a lot with the kids anyway, so I burn a lot of energy, but I just wanted to be away from football. I have been playing for two years straight. I just wanted to enjoy myself a little bit.

“I did some trips with family and friends. I knew I had enough time to prepare myself for the season, so that’s what I decided to do.”

De Bruyne’s goals and assists have made him virtually undroppable for Pep Guardiola and he conceded that the mental toll of playing or rehabbing from injury for such a long period was as wearing as the physical exertions.

“Physically you can be always okay but I think it’s more mentally,” he continued.

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“It’s tough to go two straight years for everybody and not have a proper break. That is what happened the last two years.”

De Bruyne scored and assisted in the final tour game, a 3-1 win over J-League side Yokohama F Marinos, and he believes providing team-mates with a chance to score is the key to his game.

“It is my job. My main objective is to put my team-mates in the position where they are able to score a goal. It went well a couple of times.”

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