The Debate: Why Kevin de Bruyne should win PFA Player of the Year
Introducing Eurosport’s new series: The Debate. Each week, four writers will argue a set topic from Monday to Thursday before having their views picked apart in a vodcast on Friday. Then it’s over to you to choose our winner via a poll on Twitter! We begin with the race for men’s PFA Player of the Year. Carrie Dunn is next up with Kevin de Bruyne.
OK, so Manchester City have been under-par this season - but Kevin de Bruyne certainly hasn't.
He's enjoying a spectacular year having bounced back from a duo of nasty knee injuries last season.
There can really be no genuine dispute that he is the most creative player in Europe. He's leading the assist table in the Premier League with 16, from 23 clear-cut chances created - which is more than even Lionel Messi, who's made 22 goalscoring opportunities.
Riyad Mahrez, Kevin de Bruyne celebrateGetty Images
Surely fixtures and fitness permitting he will break Thierry Henry's record of 20 in one season.
And take a look at the number of key passes too. De Bruyne has made 72 - much more than anyone else in the top European leagues, let alone the Premier League: his nearest challengers, Bayern Munich's Thomas Muller and Aston Villa's Jack Grealish, have both made 57.
But leaving aside the stats, De Bruyne's fleetness of foot, exquisite vision, and sheer brilliance of brain make him a delight to watch - and he's a delight to watch even in a side who aren't always.
Remember that performance against Real Madrid? He didn't just set up Gabriel Jesus for the equaliser, he also held his nerve to slot home a penalty to secure the win.
Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between Real Madrid and Manchester City at Bernabeu on February 26, 2020 in Madrid, SpainGetty Images
As City fans have pointed out, he's also had to step up to the mantle of senior pro and now stand-in skipper this season following the departure of Vincent Kompany, and he seems to be thriving with that additional responsibility.
Picking the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Jordan Henderson for PFA Player of the Year would be too obvious - and disappointing.
It's easy to look good in a team who are doing well and riding high on confidence. It's much more difficult to continue to be world class in a team who are all too fallible and occasionally floundering.
Kevin de Bruyne is the best player in this season's Premier League.