EPL: De Bruyne way ahead of schedule on return from hamstring injury

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The Manchester City playmaker was forced off just 36 minutes into the 1-0 win over Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League final in June.

Kevin De Bruyne insists he is “way ahead” of schedule as he returns from a hamstring injury that cut short his appearance in Manchester City’s UEFA Champions League final.

The 32-year-old scored 10 goals and provided 31 assists as City won the treble last season, adding the FA Cup and UEFA Champions League to a fifth Premier League crown in six years.

De Bruyne revealed he has been carrying a hamstring injury for the last two months of the campaign and was forced to miss just 36 minutes of the 1-0 win over Inter Milan in June.

His first action was off the bench as a second-half substitute in Sunday’s Community Shield meeting with Arsenal – where he set up Cole Palmer for the opener but then missed the first penalty as the Gunners won a 4-1 shootout.

“I’m way ahead of schedule,” he said after the clash at Wembley.

“I probably wanted to come back for the match against Sevilla (in the Super Cup on August 16). I was just enjoying the summer, working on my injury.

“I came back and the scan was good, so I trained mostly by myself in Japan. It worked, I’m happy.

“You don’t know how the injury will be. I’ve always been a pretty fast healer for the most part in the past. It is the body.”

City begin their league title defense with a trip to Sky Bet Championship winners Burnley on Friday night.

However, De Bruyne admits he does not know if he will be fit enough to start at Turf Moor.

“I don’t know how I’m doing physically,” added the Belgian international.

“I trained with the team about five or six times. I’m not too worried about it. I played 45 minutes at a good level so I’m happy with that.

“I’m improving and it’s still around 70-80 games this year so I should be fine!”

Pep Guardiola has yet to confirm who will take over as City’s new captain this season after Ilkay Gundogan left for Barcelona.

Kyle Walker – linked with a move to Bayern Munich this summer – led City at Wembley, while De Bruyne took the armband when he replaced Mateo Kovacic in the 64th minute.

Asked about the captain, De Bruyne replied: “Nothing yet. I don’t know.

“If I get it, I get it. It won’t change anything I do for the club. It’s my ninth year, I know the club inside out and people know what they ask of me, I’ll do.

“I’m not too scared. I try to do the same as always. It’s an honor if I get it, and if I don’t, it doesn’t matter.”

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