Kevin De Bruyne’s hatred for ‘unimportant’ UEFA Nations League matches indicates a shift in the Belgian’s mindset while at the pinnacle of his Manchester City career.

At the outset of the season, the Belgian maestro dealt with a slew of injuries. De Bruyne left the pitch in tears after a collision with Chelsea’s Antonio Rüdiger, which fractured his eye socket and broke his nose, in City’s first-ever Champions League final at the end of the 2020/21 season.

He had just barely recovered from that horrific injury in time to compete in the European Championship, but he was dealt another severe setback when he injured his ankle ligaments during that competition.

Despite suffering that tear in the last-16, De Bruyne took painkilling injections to play in Belgium’s quarter-final loss to Italy – something he has since said he regrets.

However, after a sluggish start to the next season, the 30-year-old was quickly back to his exhilarating best and won his second Premier League Player of the Season accolade.

Following City’s fourth league title in five seasons, De Bruyne said that this specific title was the most fulfilling on a personal level after such a difficult start.

The midfielder had hoped to spend this summer on the beach, enjoying some much-needed family time, but UEFA’s new tournament has put those plans on wait.

In the Nations League, De Bruyne’s national team will play four games in 11 days. Two games in Brussels are followed by trips to Wales and Poland, which the midfielder is not looking forward to.

“For me, the Nations League is not important,” said the 30-year-old. “We have to play these games, but it feels like a campaign of friendly games. Just glorified friendlies after a long and tough season. I’m not looking forward to it.”

“In 12 months, we have three weeks of holiday. The people from the outside do not understand how a player feels after a season. But they don’t have to because it won’t change anything. It doesn’t even matter to mention it, nothing will change anyway.”

Most people are surprised by his statements, but City fans see it as a promising shift in thinking, probably sparked by his Euro 2020 troubles. De Bruyne has told numerous media outlets this week that he is ‘proud’ of how he overcome mental and physical difficulties to win the Premier League, but it is something he does not want to repeat!