- Micah Richards thinks Kevin de Bruyne’s role at Manchester City might change
- Julian Alvarez has stepped in to the role, and combined well with Erling Haaland
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The Belgian underwent surgery on a recurring hamstring injury, and Pep Guardiola has said there are no plans to rush de Bruyne back into the Citizens’ side.
But with Alvarez and Haaland working together so well during de Bruyne’s spell out of the side, Richards believes that the Belgian could be forced to adapt himself around his team-mates upon his return, especially following the sterling work of World Cup winner Alvarez.
Speaking ahead of Man City’s trip to Chelsea, Richards told Sky Sports: ‘When you win a World Cup, you become more important within the team. Kevin de Bruyne gets injured, and this role was up for grabs.
‘We talked if [Phil] Foden would be the one to step into this No. 10 role, but Alvarez came as a No 9 and has been able to adapt to what the team need.
Kevin de Bruyne’s role at Manchester City could be changed upon his return from injury
Micah Richards said de Bruyne’s return would complicate the current successful partnership
Julian Alvarez has stepped in for de Bruyne and created a strong link-up with Erling Haaland
‘The relationship is always going to be there because you have a manager who insists on this. His quality is there for everyone to see. He’s been amazing.’
When posed on the matter of how Man City would change when de Bruyne returns from injury, Richards said: ‘This is going to be the difficult thing.
‘De Bruyne plays No 10, but he likes to go right. We talk about him on the right-hand side whipping in those balls. That means you might lose a Foden? Bernardo Silva, does he go further back?
‘At this moment, because of the relationship him and Haaland have got, you can’t really take him out of the team.
‘Doku and Grealish can play left and right as well, but I believe, what they’ve built so far, de Bruyne can fit in anywhere in this team and still be good.’
Daniel Sturridge concurred with Richards’ statements. He said: ‘When you look at Haaland and Alvarez now, they feel like a strike partnership of old.
‘You can see the runs he makes in behind, the combinations. He’s got the work rate as well, which is key in the game. He ticks all the boxes. Making those runs in behind, scoring goals, making assists, and doing the hard work for the team.’
De Bruyne is currently expected to return to the Manchester City fold in the New Year, so there are still a few months to figure out Guardiola’s next steps.
Manchester City are top of the Premier League table going into Sunday’s game at Stamford Bridge, after Chelsea beat Tottenham on Monday night before Spurs fell victim to two late goals in their defeat to Wolves on Saturday.
De Bruyne is set to be out until the New Year after undergoing surgery on a recurring injury