Mens Team

Henry hails 'incredible' De Bruyne

Henry hails 'incredible' De Bruyne
Thierry Henry has described Kevin De Bruyne as an ‘incredible talent’ in the wake of the Belgian equalling Henry’s long-standing record for the highest number of Premier League assists in a single season.

De Bruyne provided his 20th assist of the campaign in our 5-0 win over Norwich in Sunday’s Premier League finale.

That saw him draw level with Henry's record-breaking tally of 20, which the French legend set in 2002-03 and win the Premier League's playmaker of the season award for the second time in three seasons.

The latest landmarks comes in the midst of a stellar season which has seen De Bruyne elevate his game to new heights with the 29-year-old becoming the first player to register 15+ assists in three separate Premier League seasons and become the fastest player to reach 50 assists in the league's history.

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Henry, of course, knows all about De Bruyne’s quality from his time working with the midfielder when he was Belgium’s assistant manager.

And, speaking earlier this summer about the new joint assist record holder, Henry described De Bruyne as operating ‘on another planet’.

“He’s an amazing player, it’s just stupid what we are witnessing, and I hope people in football do realise that the boy is just not normal,” Henry declared.

“In the Belgium national team we used to joke about the assists record and I always used to say: 'You were not far this year,' and he would always say: 'I'll get you one day'.

WATCH: Watch all of De Bruyne's 19/20 Premier League assists

“Kevin saw me at Vincent Kompany's testimonial (at the start of the season) and he said: 'This year, I'll get you,' and I said: 'You will because you are just incredible' .

"His brain is somewhere else, it's just ridiculous.

“I came across him (with Belgium) and worked with him and he's one of those guys you just have to let play because if you start to understand and comprehend what he's doing, you're going to have a headache. He's on another planet”

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“He is an incredible player, what he shows us is madness!”

Henry wasn’t alone in lauding De Bruyne’s record-equalling qualities with Club boss Pep Guardiola leading a chorus of approval and appreciation for a man who many believe deserves to be recognised as the world’s leading midfielder right now.

“Kevin is one of the best players I have ever seen in my life. He can do everything, absolutely everything,” the City boss asserted.

“He has something unique. He can run, the vision he has… right now he is the best.

WATCH: De Bruyne: Assist record is down to my City teammates

“He is a top, top quality player and we are so proud and happy that he is with us.

“Kevin is so professional, and he loves to play football and he lives for that.

“He’s able to see something special and you have the spaces no one else can see but even with that he’s still improving and improving.”

Guardiola’s Chelsea counterpart Frank Lampard also paid fulsome tribute to De Bruyne’s ability, vision, and comfort on the ball.

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“Kevin plays like a superstar. To the naked eye he may not look like a Messi or a Ronaldo – you don’t see a 100 stepovers all the time,” said the Chelsea manager who spent a season playing at City in 2014/15.

“But what you do see is an amazing receiver of the ball – look how he swivels – his first touch puts things on a plate. All his decisions are right.”

And that admiration and professional respect was echoed by respected BBC pundits and former England internationals Alan Shearer, Martin Keown and Jermaine Jenas.

WATCH: Coming soon to City+: Made in Belgium

Ex-Arsenal and Everton central defender Keown said: “De Bruyne is like an engineer. He can find gaps and openings that just don’t exist. He really is amazing to watch.”

Legendary former Blackburn and Newcastle centre forward Shearer was equally complimentary about the way KDB helps shape and influence all around him.

De Bruyne is very, very gifted,” Shearer declared. “He is so comfortable on the ball and those slide rule passes and crosses that he whips in are just sensational. I would have loved to have played with him!”

For his part, former Spurs and Newcastle midfielder Jenas spoke of his admiration for De Bruyne’s bravery and awareness.

“Like all the greats he’s one of those players who always seems to have space and time around him,” Jenas observed.

“And he never takes the easy option – he’s always so aware and he works so hard for the team too.”

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