The one player each top 6 Premier League club can't afford to lose to injury
Even the best teams have players they cannot afford to lose, with England's elite always fearful when these stars are missing
Premier League sides may enjoy squads that are as deep as any team in the world, but each team has its star man they do not want to lose.
Every side has its keystone, the man around whom their team-mates rally and draw inspiration from. For some sides, it is a rock-solid defensive player in the mould that John Terry used to be for Chelsea, but for many others, it is the wily playmaker who is capable of unlocking an opposing defence or a striker who is capable of scoring out of nowhere.
These are the men who are worth their weight in gold for their clubs, who are loved by the fans and who, above all, are decisive at the crucial moment.
Here, we examine who those players are and why they are so important to their clubs, be it providing the goals to fire them to success or the rhythm in the midfield that keeps them ticking.
Pep Guardiola has his team playing so well, and with so many threats, that it is difficult to see a player that they rely upon more than any other. When one star drops out, another is capable of filling his space.
Perhaps the player who elevates them to an extra-special level, though, is Kevin De Bruyne. Since joining the club from Wolfsburg in 2015, he has gradually established himself as one of the best players in the world.
While he is a capable scorer, his main attributes are his creativity and ability to execute defence-splitting passes. These are central pillars of Guardiola’s tactics and his excellence in both fields means that the 26-year-old is likely to be a fixture in City’s first team for years to come.
That the player simply thrives on it is an added bonus. Speaking to Sky Sports this week, he said: “I always like to assist more than scoring. It gives me another feeling.
“When you score it's a great feeling but to give a great pass means it's something special for me. It's very under-rated what we do.
“Sometimes you just square the ball and somebody else shoots, but some assists are so nice and the passing is very important."
“We creators have a thing with the attackers. If they don't score you think: ‘Uh! I did such a great job and you're messing it up’. If we give a bad pass they're going to say: ‘What are you doing?’”
This attitude is the very essence of what Guardiola expects of his players.