Belgium's De Bruyne hits out at crowded calendar

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - UEFA Nations League - League A - Group 2 - Belgium v Iceland - King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels, Belgium - September 8, 2020 Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne in action REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne hit out at soccer's crowded calendar on Saturday on the eve of their Nations League match against England, the second of three national-team games inside a week.

“I've been playing without a break for two years now. But nobody listens to the players,” De Bruyne, who will captain the team against England at Wembley, told a news conference.

The match follows Belgium’s 1-1 friendly draw with the Ivory Coast on Thursday and will be followed by another Nations League trip to Iceland on Wednesday, before De Bruyne returns to play for his club Manchester City in the Premier League next weekend.

“Sometimes I worry. Especially when I look at my personal situation. I've had eight, nine days off this summer,” De Bruyne said.

“I couldn't go on holiday because my wife was pregnant at the time, so basically I’ve not had a holiday and if the season goes on, it means I will have played for two years without a break.

“It takes a toll, especially mentally. I think, like everybody, you need a break just to switch off like everybody and your body needs to heal...

“I know everyone says ‘you earn a lot of money, you should handle it’. That's the way it goes. I take it on the chin but I can see a lot of injuries coming,” he added.

De Bruyne also said he wanted to discuss a possible contract extension with Manchester City as soon as possible.

“I am happy in Manchester. I am open to conversations, but so far I haven’t spoken to City myself,” he told reporters.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Toby Davis)

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