Leekens tips De Bruyne to impress

Former Belgium coach Georges Leekens has backed midfielder Kevin De Bruyne to "go to the highest level" after his big-money move to Manchester City on deadline day.

Leekens, who handed De Bruyne his international debut back in 2010, believes the midfielder has required ability and mentality to become one of the world's best players.

Having sealed a move to the Etihad Stadium from Wolfsburg, De Bruyne is now in a good place to take his career to the next level, according to Leekens.

"I think he can go to the highest level," Leekens told Goal. "I mean on the Messi, Ronaldo and Hazard level. He has already shown what he can do.

"He will grow. Wolfsburg are a good club but Manchester City is bigger and now it's the big jump.

"He's at the age now where he can start a big career at club and international level."

De Bruyne was in the past criticised by Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho after turning down the chance to stay at Stamford Bridge in favour of a move to Wolfsburg.

However, Leekens feels the move was justified as the midfielder went to experience a new brand of football in Germany, making him a more rounded player.

He added: "Sometimes you can think you take one step back, but I don't think it was a step back for him.

"It was good to experience another kind of football in Germany and now he will prove he can play in England at the highest level.

"He went to Wolfsburg after Chelsea to prove himself and he will fight to be successful [at City], of that I'm sure. He's that kind of player.

"Financially Chelsea did a very good job, but maybe Kevin was not ready at the time or they had players in that position.

"I know Kevin, he's not patient. He will not wait until he gets a chance. He likes to get that chance today, he doesn't wait until tomorrow and that's Kevin's character.

"I remember him at RAA Gent and he was like this, he knows what he wants and he likes to play.

"He was 14 at Gent but then he went to Genk. We knew that we had a big player but we didn't have the money to hold on to him.

"At that moment he was good but, following his moves, I think he's excellent and now he will show he's world class in England."