Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne is “looking unplayable” on current form, according to Jamie Carragher.
The Belgium international has made an explosive start to the campaign, scoring four goals in 18 outings while creating nine more for Pep Guardiola’s side.
His high level has seen him hailed as the outstanding player of the campaign and former Liverpool centre-back Carragher has joined in with the praise, though he attributes some of the improvement to a bold tactical shift from his manager.
“As soon as he came to the Premier League you knew he was a very good player. There was no doubt about that. But you were never quite sure about where he would play,” Carragher told Sky Sports.
“Sometimes it would be on the right, sometimes on the left, sometimes in the No 10 position. But the way Guardiola has set the team up, he’s playing more of a central midfield role, a false eight as Guardiola calls it. I don’t think it’s something many other coaches would have done.
“Everything goes through you in central midfield but when you’re in such good form every other player in the team wants to give you the ball, too. No matter how many stars they have in that side, they give the ball to De Bruyne. His right foot is like a wand but then you see the goals he’s scored with his left – so how do you actually stop him? At the moment he’s looking unplayable.”
Carragher believes that the degree of tactical flexibility that the Catalan has given him has played a huge role in De Bruyne’s ability to impact a game – and therefore City’s ability to win.
“He’s also so difficult to stop in terms of his assists because he can move in and out of different positions with his current role,” he explained.
“He’s playing just to the right of a midfield three where he can slip players in but by moving five or 10 yards to the right he’s in a crossing position and there’s no better crosser of a ball in the Premier League, perhaps with the exception of Kieran Trippier at Tottenham.
“But while you normally associate crossing with getting to the byline and someone powering in a header, De Bruyne crosses along the floor, whipping it in with so much pace. Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero will thrive off that.”
City have opened up an eight-point cap at the summit of the Premier League standings with only 12 matches played. They have dropped points only against Everton and have scored 40 goals.