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Man City's De Bruyne pips Hazard to top prize

KDB: Born winner

KDB: Born winner

Kevin De Bruyne has pipped Eden Hazard and a host of other top Premier League players to a top award in his home country.

The City play-maker was named Best Belgian Player in a Foreign League at a prestigious Gala of the Golden Boot event.

The Express report: “Under Pep Guardiola, the 25-year-old has been instrumental for Manchester City this season.

“And in a ceremony last night, De Bruyne took the aforementioned prize.

“He had to fend off the likes of Liverpool’s Divock Origi and Chelsea’s Eden Hazard to scoop the accolade.

KDB: Another stunning year

“Gunners legend Thierry Henry presented him with the award on stage.

“De Bruyne uploaded a pic of himself on Instagram at the ceremony alongside his fiancée and a caption read: “Proud! #bestbelgianplayerabroad.”

“He has played in 23 of City’s 24 Premier League games this term, scoring four times.

“The playmaker will be hoping to bolster City’s top-four hopes when they face Bournemouth on Monday (8pm).”

Meanwhile, the Nigeria national team coach believes Kelechi Iheanacho will force his way back into Pep Guardiola’s squad before too long.

The City boss recently said that Iheanacho was unlucky not to be playing, along with Nolito and several other players who have had limited game-time recently.

FIGHTER: Kelechi Iheancho

But Nigeria boss Gernot Rohr believes the young striker will battle hard to win place in the squad and will take his chance once it comes.

African Football write: “Iheanacho, 20, last played for City on January 15 as a late sub in a 4-0 loss at Everton.

“This season, he has scored four goals in 15 appearances in the Premier League.

“And Rohr has now said he believes the former Flying Eagles star will fight his way to the City first-team squad despite the arrival of Brazil star Gabriel Jesus.

‘I am sure Kelechi will come back to this team,’ assured Rohr.

‘He’s a fighter, he has a good fighting spirit. This player is a good athlete and he has a good mind.

‘I have spoken with him and he will come back. He’s a young player, so sometimes he plays, sometimes he doesn’t.

“And for a big club like Manchester City, you can’t play all the time.I believe he will come back to play for City again.’

Finally, the transfer gossip columns may have quietened down now the January window has closed, but that hasn’t stopped speculation about who City may target this coming summer.

One name regularly linked with a move to the Blues is Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk, but the Express believe the Dutch star will remain at St Mary’s for at least one more season.

They report: “Virgil van Dijk will snub a move to Manchester City or Liverpool in the summer, according to reports

“The Dutchman was the subject of interest from both clubs last month, along with Manchester United and Chelsea.

“But Southampton were reluctant to let him leave following the departure of centre-back Jose Fonte to West Ham.

“Reports suggest Manchester City and Liverpool will battle it out again for the £50m-rated defender in the summer.

“But according to the Daily Star, Van Dijk has no plans to leave St Mary's after recently being appointed captain.

“Saints sought assurances from the 25-year-old's commitment before handing him the armband and they are now convinced they can keep him for at least another season.

“A source told the paper: “When Virgil took the captaincy it was on the understanding he would lead the team until the end of next season as a minimum.”

More gossip and rumours tomorrow…

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