TNT sports pundit Rio Ferdinand has hailed Kevin de Bruyne as the ‘jewel’ in Manchester City’s crown after the Belgian guided his side to a crucial win against Newcastle with a goal and assist from the bench.
The Belgian made his goalscoring return to the Premier League following a long-term injury lay-off with a second half equaliser at St James’ Park before assisting youngster Oscar Bobb for the winner.
De Bruyne’s return to fitness is a major boost for City’s ambitions of becoming the first-ever team to win four consecutive Premier League titles and Ferdinand warned rival teams that the playmaker’s return could kick-start a new period of rich form.
Saturday’s win lifted City to second in the league standings with leaders Liverpool just two points ahead at the top.
However, Ferdinand highlighted City’s ability to produce mesmerising runs of results in the second half of the season and explained other teams will be ‘looking over their shoulders’.
“Pep Guardiola, very rarely do you see him as animated as he was today,” Ferdinand said on TNT Sports.
“I’ll tell you one thing, that man there (De Bruyne), you’re back, you are back. You are the jewel in the crown, you’re back.
“Watch momentum kick in now and these guys know what to do.
“These guys know when to put the pedal to the floor and it looks like now everybody is going to be looking over their shoulders and looking around and saying, they are coming.
“They know how to get the job done, they have the experience, the depth, the class, the quality and the firepower. Formidable.
“Most players are shifting the ball before they hit that,” Ferdinand said of the equaliser.
“He’s seen an angle, what angle I don’t know – he must play snooker in his spare time,” he added.
De Bruyne’s strike pulled City level in the match after they had previously squandered their own lead following Bernardo Silva’s stunning opening strike.
The 32-year-old admitted after the matched that he was delighted to be available for selection again but explained he wasn’t yet fit to play a full 90 minutes.