The Man City and England star admitted that he would be ‘open’ to leaving the club in search of regular minutes
Sterling made just his third Premier League start of the season in Saturday’s 2-0 win against Burnley but said before the match that he would be “open” to leaving the club and “go somewhere else for more game time”.
The England international has fallen out of favour with manager Pep Guardiola, who said he was surprised to hear Sterling’s comments. The City boss regularly changes his starting line-ups and maintained that he can’t always guarantee players the minutes they want, but De Bruyne said he had sympathy with Sterling over the situation.
“Rotation is important because playing four competitions, and mostly going far in them, it’s a tough ask sometimes,” De Bruyne said ahead of City’s match against Club Brugge in the Champions League on Tuesday.
“But I understand the frustration because I’m a player and you have some players who need more rhythm to get into it. Maybe Raz [Raheem] is someone who needs more. I’m a player that needs that also.
“Obviously it’s the manager who has to make choices and it’s very hard. We have a group of 22, 23 internationals who are unbelievable. Whenever the team plays good there’s not a lot you can say as a player. It can be frustrating but I think we try to help each other.”
Sterling has seen his minutes impacted further by the arrival of Jack Grealish from Aston Villa for British record fee this summer, as well as the emergence of Phil Foden.
Grealish was rested for City’s win over Burnley on Saturday and is expected to feature in Belgium against Brugge, while forward Gabriel Jesus is also available following his return from international duty.