Kevin De Bruyne returned to Cobham this week after spending last season on loan in Germany with Werder Bremen, and now looks ahead to a busy summer with the Blues.
The Belgian international signed for Chelsea from his first club Genk in January 2012, but was immediately loaned back before spending last pre-season with us on tour in America before heading to Bremen and the Bundesliga.
In that season, the now 22-year-old appeared 33 times in the league and scored 10 goals, while adding three goals in five Belgium international appearances.
‘We had a difficult season with a lot of really young players who had almost no experience in the league, so it’s very difficult, but I felt I had a good season and played a lot of minutes, and also with the national team which was very important for me,’ explained the left winger. ‘I think I managed to have a good year and managed not to have my own injuries, so I was very happy.
‘The Bundesliga is a strong competition. You can compare it to the Premier League, which is probably more physical, it’s a lot of running, but every team tries to play good football and always goes for the win.’
Of course while he was away from Stamford Bridge, De Bruyne kept in touch with Chelsea’s fortunes, and now looks forward to bedding back in.
‘I managed to see the results, and some games, but not many because my own schedule was full,’ he said. ‘I spoke to people from the club regularly, and they came to watch games in Bremen, while I also talked to Eden Hazard in the national team also.
‘It feels great to be back here now. I drove back from Belgium with Romelu Lukaku, through the channel tunnel. It’s not that far and we enjoyed the trip.
‘I had a good vacation after the season and in the end I was looking forward to starting again to get back to the normal life we are used to as footballers.’
That life now takes on a new chapter under the tutelage of Jose Mourinho. First impressions are good, and from Thursday there are four weeks on the road in which to prepare for the season.
‘The manager said he has a lot of confidence and brought me back because he believes in me,’ De Bruyne explained. ‘I have to show that on the pitch but it’s nice when the trainer has confidence in you. I have to work hard and see what happens in pre-season.
‘After training you can have a good laugh but in the session he likes discipline and that everybody is working hard on the field.
‘The tour of Asia will be difficult for us, with the heat and the humidity, but we will see what happens and we just have to prepare ourselves well for the season.
‘We have a lot of young players and it will be good to go on tour and stay together, and get to know each other and other places. It is always fun.’