Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne has returned to training following his knee injury sooner than expected.
It was thought the midfielder would be out for three months when he picked up a lateral collateral ligament lesion in his right knee just over six weeks ago.
But the 27-year-old, who did not require surgery, has stepped up his recovery before City face Hoffenheim in the Champions League on Tuesday.
City then visit rivals Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday.
Speaking in a pre-match news conference on Monday, City captain Vincent Kompany said De Bruyne was “one of the best”.
“It is difficult to quantify how much of a loss he has been,” the Belgian defender said. “He is one of the best midfielders – we get more goals and assists with him.
“He has a huge presence and you do not find it anywhere else in football. Luckily we have players to fill the gap.”
Belgium international De Bruyne’s only appearance so far this season was as a substitute in City’s opening-day league win over Arsenal.
He was City’s player of the season in 2017-18, scoring 12 goals and providing 21 assists as his side won the Premier League and EFL Cup.
He helped Belgium finish third at the World Cup in July, the country’s best ever finish at the tournament.
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