Kev’s backing for Fernandinho after defensive switch
KEVIN de Bruyne has called for Fernandinho to be given due respect after converting from a world-class midfielder to a brilliant defender.
The City ace was asked to step into the back four in the summer, after the Blues lost skipper Vincent Kompany.
And with Aymeric Laporte suffering a cruciate ligament injury in September, the Brazil international has become the main man in the back four and is set to keep his place when the Frenchman returns to action in the next couple of weeks.
But, while City have earned plaudits for the way they play and the trophies they have won, Fernandinho’s name often gets overlooked when their star names are listed.
After another stellar display from the 34-year-old in the 3-1 Carabao Cup semi-final first leg win at United, De Bruyne put that right.
He said: “Dinho can play everywhere. Since I came here he’s been really under-rated.
“For me he was one of the best defensive midfielders in the world, and now he just comes in as a central defender and does what he does.
“Props to him, because it’s not easy to play a new position, especially when you’ve never done it in the 14 years before that.”
Fernandinho is set to sign a one-year extension to his contract after impressing Guardiola and the City executive team with his fitness and performance levels.
And yet a knee injury he picked up at Old Trafford during the 2-0 win in April, and aggravated during the
Copa America in summer, meant his season did not even start until the middle of September - and it looked like he might be a peripheral figure, who would wind down his City career and leave next summer.
That seems to be the case no longer, because as De Bruyne says, he has come back strongly from that setback and over Christmas he played a staggering four games in 11 days, and completed 90 minutes in every one! “He has done brilliantly,” said De Bruyne.
“He came back a little bit late with some physical issues because of the injuries he had last year and in the summer.
“But from the moment he played he needed a couple of games and then is on a roll. He’s somebody who, when he plays, feels good.
“He probably feels a little bit tired now, but at the age he is, you are going to take it. He is doing brilliantly for us.”
Kevin de Bruyne
Kevin de Bruyne has been impressed with Fernandinho’s displays