Redknapp: De Bruyne is key to Man City’s title hopes

West Ham United v Manchester City - Premier League
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 29: Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City celebrates after his cross was deflected into the net by Declan Rice of West Ham United (not pictured) for a own goal and Manchester City's second goal of the game during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Manchester City at London Stadium on April 29, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

A fully fit and revitalised Kevin De Bruyne will be key for Manchester City in the title run-in for the Premier League, says Jamie Redknapp.

The Belgian playmaker proved to be a vital member of the City squad last season that won the league title by 19 points from nearest rivals Manchester United.

But De Bruyne has suffered an injury-hit campaign this time around due to recurring knee problems, which has restricted him to just four starts in his 11 Premier League appearances.

The 27-year-old’s place in the City team is now in real danger with manager Pep Guardiola confirming that he’s no longer a guaranteed starter after making a one-minute cameo in their 2-0 win at Everton on Wednesday.

But Redknapp thinks otherwise as a fresh De Bruyne could instead give a tired City squad a vital push in their bid to retain their league crown.

“City have got players that can change the game at any given second, but probably the most important in the coming months is Kevin De Bruyne,” Redknapp told Sky Sports.

“He’s so fresh, he’s had a big break, and as long as he keeps injury-free, he could be huge in this run-in.

“You’ve got David Silva and Bernardo Silva, technically so lovely to watch, but De Bruyne has that nasty streak, the pass that can cut open a defence.

WATFORD, ENGLAND - APRIL 23: Javi Gracia, Manager of Watford greets Andre Gray of Watford after the Premier League match between Watford FC and Southampton FC at Vicarage Road on April 23, 2019 in Watford, United Kingdom. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Watford’s Gracia admits he’s “always in evolution”

The manager has brought success to the Hornets, in a season that has seen them playing about what was expected from them in the English Premier League.

“He can score from 25 yards, and he’s different to any other midfielder in these two teams and probably in the Premier League. He’s devastating. It’s such a plus to have him firing again.

“The Newcastle defeat was a week-and-a-half ago, that’s how quickly things can change. That’s what Liverpool have to hang onto.

“They must think: ‘We’re having a bit of a moment here, it’s not the end of the world, we’ve got to keep going and get players firing at the level they can.’

“But there has obviously been a little bit of a drop. The draw at home to Leicester felt like a big moment, the day after City had lost at Newcastle. The turnaround has been significant.”

City will host Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday for their next league match with kick-off set for 5:00 PM (CET).