Soccer-De Bruyne returns to training in Belgian boost

·1 min read
Champions League Final - Manchester City v Chelsea

(Reuters) - Kevin De Bruyne trained with Belgium for the first time at the European Championship on Monday, boosting his country's hopes for the tournament after recovering from a double facial fracture suffered in last month's Champions League final.

De Bruyne will train again twice on Tuesday and Wednesday in a bid to prove his readiness for the Group B clash with Denmark in Copenhagen on Thursday, officials said.

Belgium's midfield playmaker broke his nose and an eye socket after a clash with opposition defender Antonio Rudiger as Manchester City lost to Chelsea in the Champions League final on May 29 but was expected to still be available for the Euros.

He had surgery five days after the final, which was described as a minor intervention, and spent a week recovering at home before joining up with the Belgian squad last Monday.

But he did not train during his first week with the squad and stayed behind at their base in Belgium when his team mates went to St Petersburg for their opening match against Russia on Saturday. De Bruyne was hardly missed as Belgium underlined their top ranking in the world with a 3-0 win.

De Bruyne, named the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year for a second consecutive season, is still expected to play a major role in Belgium's bid for a first major tournament success.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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