Kevin de Bruyne’s Brain

Thierry Henry said that out of all the football players he’s played with in his career, Kevin de Bruyne’s brain is the best he’s seen. And don’t forget that Henry played with Lionel Messi at Barcelona!

Later, Henry is asked about playing with Xavi and Iniesta, how they compare with Kevin’s brain. He says de Bruyne’s brain is the cleverest.

To me, what soccer players like Xavi and Iniesta and de Bruyne share is knowledge of what’s going on around them during the game, and knowing before they get the ball what they want to do. They see the whole soccer field at all times. They are constantly checking their shoulders.

And like Iniesta, Kevin de Bruyne has that almost lazy style of play at times. Where he’s slowed down and teasing opponents and then all of a sudden he makes the pass or takes the shot or dribbles at speed. For de Bruyne, what separates him from Iniesta and Xavi is while he wants to keep possession of the ball he’s more apt to look for the killer pass or goal scoring chance.

“I don’t know what he thinks about sometimes. It is almost like he’s not with us,” Henry says. And this statement makes me think of how Pep Guardiola talked about Messi walking around on the soccer pitch. Just appearing to have a stroll sometimes. But the brain is always firing in both players, even when they appear checked out.

Kevin de Bruyne gives an insight into what makes the Premier League’s assist king tick on the football pitch, discussing the mental and physical aspects of his game in detail.

In the video from Manchester City, de Bruyne talks about what young players should focus on if they want to be the next Kevin de Bruyne. The Kevin de Bruyne these kids aspire to play like, gave an exceptional answer: NO FEAR OF MAKING MISTAKES.

Henry talks about de Bruyne being a perfectionist. While certainly true for someone who has gotten to his level, but he’s willing to try things and make mistakes until he gets it right.

For soccer coaches, how do you get your players to try new things, go on long mazy dribbling runs, but still play one and two touch soccer. You don’t want players playing like they’re afraid to make mistakes? During training, young players should feel like they can try new things on the soccer pitch.

And he said he will never care about the pass completion rate. Kevin de Bruyne’s brain focuses more on creativity,  setting up his teammates to score or scoring himself.

Kevin de Bruyne even says near the end, that while he can run for days and is a good athlete, it is about finding the right spaces on the soccer field. 

And to find those right spaces you might have to come across like you’re out of position. You might have to appear to the opposing team that you’re walking around or not paying attention, so you can slip into a spot where they don’t see you. You might have to stand just off the defender’s shoulder where he can’t see you.

But the thing that Kevin de Bruyne has perfected is the teasing pass that looks like a cross. He says it is really a pass. The interviewer calls it a cross into the “corridor of uncertainty”. A ball threaded into the space between the goalkeeper and the last defender. It is often a long bending ball that only his teammate can reach.

Like Beckham perfected the cross, Kevin de Bruyne has perfected this long pass that bends into the path of a teammate. It is a pass that surprises the opposing team because he often seems too far away to make it.

Another thing he has perfected is the long dribbling run, charging up the field with the ball. If there is space, he doesn’t hesitate to take off with the ball at his feet. This is what separates de Bruyne from other world class players, the ability to go on long dribbling runs. This ability reminds you of Kaka or even Messi at times.

Overall, Kevin de Bruyne’s intelligence, creativity, and willingness to take risks make him a remarkable player. On the soccer field, he is constantly surprising opponents and setting up scoring opportunities for his teammates. Do you agree with Henry that he has the best brain in football? Currently, out of all the players of world football, you’d have to say yes.