Kevin De Bruyne's blooming big Man City secret revealed after four-goal sensation
Kevin De Bruyne has revealed the blooming truth behind his blossoming as a two-footed Manchester City legend. The midfield ace stunned Wolves with a left-foot hat-trick in the Blues’ vital 5-1 win at Molineux on Wednesday night, before adding a fourth with his “stronger” right foot.
And that means 24 of his 86 goals for the club have come from his left peg, a quite stunning percentage. The benefit of being two-footed was perhaps illustrated by former City defender Andy Morrison’s tweet during the Wolves game, which was jokey but carried a serious point.
Nineties cult hero Morrison tweeted: “Wolves dressing room HT. ‘Gaffer, did you say show him onto his left’.”
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The Wolves' defence probably did all they could to prevent De Bruyne’s hat-trick goal, forcing him inside and ensuring any shot would have to be from his left foot. The only problem was that de Bruyne had already bagged two with his left, and he let fly with as sweet a strike as you will see, the ball fizzing beautifully into the far corner.
And De Bruyne later spoke about how the havoc his potent right foot was wreaking in his pal’s dad’s flower beds had forced him to develop a stronger “standing” foot. He said: “When I was young and playing football with my friends in the garden, I had two goals and I could shoot with my right foot.
“But when I went to friends I wasn’t allowed to shoot with my right because I was killing all the flowers! They told me to shoot with my left and I was really young, so I think I practised it a lot and it became more natural to shoot with either. That obviously helps me a lot right now.”
De Bruyne is one of the best strikers of a ball in world football, with either foot, and he says that is partly down to the fact that he normally never tries to put curl or top-spin on the ball, as many players do. He just focuses on as clean a strike as possible.
He said: “I think it is hitting the ball at the right moment with the velocity of the movement. It is not really that you want to overpower it, but I think I try to hit it as clean as possible, especially if I go with a straight shot.
“It is just something that is my style and it is the way I shoot. Some people are better with knuckleballs or where the ball moves around, but mine really doesn’t and it is more of a pure, straight strike. There is a lot of power behind it.”
De Bruyne was handed the match ball at the end by referee Martin Atkinson for his first hat-trick, but he added a right-footed goal and would have equalled the Premier League goalscoring record of five in a game - held jointly by Andy Cole, Alan Shearer, Jermain Defoe, Dimitar Berbatov and De Bruyne’s former City teammate Sergio Aguero - had his late shot sneaked inside the post rather than hitting it.
De Bruyne has always insisted he prefers creating goals to scoring them, but Pep Guardiola has placed greater emphasis on him hitting the net himself by playing him in a more advanced role this season. That has paid off with his career-best tally of 19 goals, and few would bet against him breaking the 20-goal barrier with two games still to play.
Said De Bruyne: “I think I came at the right opportunities to score. The first three strikes are three goals where you gain a lot of confidence. In the second half I obviously got the fourth and I should have had a fifth in the last minutes to be honest.
“But I will take four! For the moment it is just about doing whatever needs doing to win the games. You make a decision on what you think is the best on the pitch and I was in good positions to shoot and when you score that many it helps.”
His quadruple means City can put one hand on the Premier League trophy if they win at West Ham on Sunday, with Liverpool facing Chelsea in the FA Cup final the day before. A win at the London Stadium would leave City six points clear with their rivals having two games to play - and the Blues already have a goal difference which is seven better than that of the Merseysiders.
De Bruyne said tiredness is an issue after another long, tough season, and the likely loss of Aymeric Laporte, and possibly Fernandinho, to add to those of Kyle Walker, John Stones and Ruben Dias, makes the trip to east London that much harder. But he said: “We can see that the team is a little bit fatigued and it has been a hard season.
“We don’t have a lot of players, but it is about commitment right now and in 10 days after we will have a little break before we go away with our national teams. West Ham away is a really tough game.
“They are a really great team and have had a good season, so we are definitely not going to underestimate them. We are going to go there to win the game and afterwards we will see what happens.”