Kevin De Bruyne has quickly gone from flavour of the month to frozen out in the cold, as Jose Mourinho instructs the young Belgian to train with the Chelsea U21’s.
It appears Mourinho has seen already enough of 22-year-old Belgian international De Bruyne, after leaving the winger out of the squad altogether for both the London derby at Tottenham and now the Champions League squad to face Steaua Bucharest.
The unfortunate De Bruyne must be wondering exactly what he has done to warrant such treatment, after starting for Chelsea in their opening two Premier League games and performing pretty well.
The move appears even stranger, considering that Mourinho himself opted to block the player moving back to Werder Bremen on loan again at the start of this campaign, where he had made a real impact in the Bundesliga last season.
Operating mostly as a number 10 for Bremen, the midfielder struck 10 times in 33 Bundesliga appearances, fuelling speculation that the German club would be prepared to move for him permanently in January.
Meanwhile, it’s clear that Mourinho is still tinkering with what he feels is his strongest line-up, particularly in those advanced three positions behind the striker, where De Bruyne likes to operate.
The fact that Chelsea’s best player of the last two seasons, Juan Mata, cannot even make it into the first XI, goes some way to evaluating De Bruyne’s position in the order of things, while Willian’s arrival may have proved the death knell.
Although Chelsea have started well enough in the Premier League – where they lie fourth after six games and still quite short to claim the title at 11/4 – they can’t afford anymore slip-ups in the Champions League after that shock defeat to Basel.
The winners of two years ago travel to Romania as the 4/6 favourites and they must deliver, even without De Bruyne in the squad.
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