Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney has risked the wrath of United fans by praising City rival Kevin de Bruyne as well as comparing him to a Liverpool icon in Rangers boss Steven Gerrard.
The Belgian has had another fantastic season for Pep Guardiola’s side despite coming up short in the title race and Rooney admits that he is reminded of his former England team-mate.
Rooney came up against the Man City star while at Everton and recalled facing him in a game where City ripped the Toffees to shreds.
“Playing against him was never, ever, easy and I’ll always remember Everton using me and Morgan Schneiderlin, in a 4-4-2, against a City midfield of De Bruyne, David Silva and Fernandinho, with Sterling dropping in,” Rooney wrote in his column for The Times.
“They absolutely outnumbered us. Me and Schneiderlin were in the middle of the pitch saying, ‘What’s going on here?!’ We were 3-0 down after 37 minutes and had 18 per cent possession in the game.
“De Bruyne reminds me a bit of Steven Gerrard. He drifts out to that right-hand side and plays some brilliant balls whipped in, like Stevie used to. What I like most is he takes chances, he takes risks, he doesn’t go for the easy ball — he plays the hard pass.
“You watch, when he’s in possession in space other players start running and that’s the biggest compliment you can pay a midfielder.”
There are few better for the City star to be compared to than Gerrard and there are definite similarities in how they both played.
Rooney is now with Derby County and the former Man United captain will know better than most just how good Gerrard was after playing with and against the Rangers boss throughout his career.
De Bruyne is easily one of the top players in the world just now and Gers first-team coach Mick Beale hailed him as a perfect role-model for young players coming through.