‘Fernandinho one of the best’ – Man City midfielder earns high praise from De Bruyne

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The Brazilian has been sorely missed while serving a suspension, with his Belgian team-mate delighted to have a proven performer back in the fold

Kevin De Bruyne considers Manchester City team-mate Fernandinho to be “one of the best” players he has ever worked with.

The Brazilian has been a big miss for City over recent weeks, having been forced to serve a suspension.

He has sat out meetings with West Ham, Everton, Tottenham and Crystal Palace, with Pep Guardiola’s side dropping five precious Premier League points during that run.

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They have been able to progress through to the fifth round of the FA Cup, but a top-flight title challenge has faded badly.

Fernandinho is ready to step back into the fold, though, and De Bruyne expects a proven performer to make a positive contribution.

He told City’s official website: “I think Ferna’s one of the best holding midfielders I’ve ever played with and its worth remembering that he’s 30 years-old – incredible that he has so much energy – you don’t see that everywhere in players who are 30 so we are very lucky to have him.”

HD Kevin De Bruyne Manchester City

On the Brazilian, who has not missed a minute of Premier League football that he has been available for this season, De Bruyne added: “Obviously we’ve missed him.

“He’s been an important player throughout his time at City and he plays a pivotal role for us in midfield and helps keep everything organised – plus he’s also very good on the ball.

“Now he’s served his ban and is available for us again so it’s a big boost for the team because he’s missed seven games this season through suspension.

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“If you get a red card in England you’re banned for three or sometimes four games, which is unbelievable, but there’s not much you can do about it. I think one game is enough but those are the rules, I suppose.”

While frustrated to have been without Fernandinho for some important fixtures, the midfielder is returning at a useful time.

City have the opportunity to get their top-four challenge back on track against West Ham, Swansea and Bournemouth, before attention then turns to a European showdown with Monaco in the last 16 of the Champions League.

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