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Psychologist Breaks Down Why Kevin De Bruyne Is Such An Exceptional Passer In Fascinating Viral Twitter Thread

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Psychologist Breaks Down Why Kevin De Bruyne Is Such An Exceptional Passer In Fascinating Viral Twitter Thread

Why does Kevin De Bruyne have such exceptional vision and passing? A fascinating Twitter thread has attempted to answer that question.

De Bruyne outlined his quality with an impressive performance on Sunday as Manchester City drew 2-2 with title rivals Liverpool in the Premier League, with the Belgium international opening the scoring at the Etihad.

It came just days after he scored the only goal in the first leg of City’s Champions League quarter-final against Atletico Madrid, with Pep Guardiola’s side later progressing to the last four after grinding out a goalless draw in Spain on Tuesday night.



Football psychology researcher Geir Jordet studied De Bruyne throughout the first leg at the Etihad and has offered an explanation as to why the midfielder possesses such quality in midfield.

Jordet, a professor at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, offered his findings in a Twitter thread, which has now gone viral.

“Kevin De Bruyne has an extraordinary awareness and ability to deliver decisive goals & assists,” wrote Jordet, who did his PhD on the role of vision, perception and anticipation in elite-level performance.

According to Jordet, De Bruyne is able to gain an edge over his opponents by continually scanning play at a higher rate than the average midfielder.


“De Bruyne scans the pitch prior to receiving the ball with a rate of 0.45 scans/second, thus 4-5 scans every 10 seconds. This is high for a player in his role. He constantly exposes his eyes to surrounding information and becomes aware of opportunities & threats early,” wrote Jordet.

“Players usually scan when there’s lots of space around them, and less when they’re in tight spaces. This is not the case with De Bruyne who maintains his scan rate even when opponents are close. Makes him effective in those crowded areas where assists & goals are created.”

Jordet added: “De Bruyne’s scan timing is flawless. He takes his eyes off the ball when nothing new happens with it. Every time someone touches the ball, and it is important to quickly spot new ball direction or pace, he looks at the ball.”


De Bruyne also varies the length of time he looks away from ball depending on the situation in play, and is even able to disguise his scanning from opposition players.

“When De Bruyne is lower in the pitch, he uses LONG scans by looking away from the ball for 1 second or more before directing his eyes back to the ball. This enables him to pick up more detailed and complex information located further away,” added Jordet.


“Under low-pressure conditions, De Bruyne employs SEQUENTIAL scans to literally pan his eyes across the entire pitch. This gives him a more panoramic view of the attacking half and helps setting him up for those creative and lethal mid-range passes he is known for.

“When a situation calls for precise and disguised perception, De Bruyne engages in subtle but high-frequent MICRO scans. Here he only moves his eyes back and forth, to effectively analyze a selected area, while not giving away his intentions to the opponents.

“CRITICAL scans are conducted while the ball is on its way to you. De Bruyne does these scans extremely late, often looking away from the ball while in the act of receiving it. This enables him to execute passes with fully updated information about teammates & opponents.


“De Bruyne knows when he doesn’t know what’s around him, and he acts accordingly. When he receives the ball without having scanned, this might mean that opponents are near, so he instantly plays the ball back to where it came from, using his first touch.

“Kevin De Bruyne’s scanning is flexible, well-timed & intelligently adapted to each situation. Scanning does not sufficiently explain his vision, but it is a necessary foundation for it.”

De Bruyne has now scored 14 goals and provided eight assists in all competitions this season.

He will no doubt be hoping to add to that tally when City return to action on Saturday against Liverpool in the semi-finals of the FA Cup.


Featured Image Credit: Sky Sports & Twitter: Geir Jordet

Topics: Kevin De Bruyne, Football, Premier League, Manchester City

Rory O'Callaghan
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