Kevin de Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne insists the Manchester City squad are not giving any thought to the upcoming World Cup, and is completely focussed on their final four fixtures before the Qatar tournament gets underway.

City play Sevilla in a Champions League dead-rubber, before Premier League fixtures against Fulham and Brentford sandwich a Carabao Cup clash with Chelsea – with all four games coming at the Etihad.

With six points in the league to play for, and progression in the Carabao Cup up for grabs, De Bruyne was adament that his focus lies with those fixtures rather than looking ahead to representing Belgium at the World Cup.

“To be fair I do not really think about it. There is no point thinking about it,” De Bruyne told reporters after his goal saw City earn another vital three points at Leicester.

“We have four games left so we will try to play as well as possible and then after four games I will have to report for Belgium and go to Qatar. We don’t see it as a big thing coming up, it just follows these games.

“It is unknown. There is no point worrying about it or thinking about it. You take it as it comes and try and play as well as possible. We are not talking about it with team-mates. The schedule is too hectic. We had two away games quickly after each other.”

With the opening World Cup games coming just a week after the Premier League takes a break for six weeks, De Bruyne was asked whether the build-up to this year’s tournament makes it feel like a lesser event.

And while the second-placed finisher in the 2022 Ballon d’Or standings said the World Cup still holds a special place for players, he admitted he is mor relaxed having already played at two World Cups in his career.

“No, I don’t think [it’s a lesser event]. I am excited. It will be the third one and it is always special. These events are great as everyone is watching it. It is big but there is no point to stress about it. It is my third time, I understand what is coming and I cannot speak for someone else who will be there for the first time.

“My family are going over for the group stages. I am obviously 31 and I don’t know what will happen in four years. This is the first time my kids can come to the World Cup. That is why they are coming.

“It will be special, an event I don’t want them to miss. They are six four and two. The eldest two of them follow the football a bit but the daughter, not really, but she can go and enjoy the sun and play in the pool.”

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