When we signed Dedryck Boyata, while simultaneously losing loanee Jason Denayer, I heard that bullish comment from Celtic Park “We made Denayer into a regular Belgian international and we’ll do the same for Boyata.”
Teenage Jason Denayer was part of a record-breaking Celtic central defence. Fast and skilful, there was little chance parent club Manchester City would allow him to extend his stay in Scotland. Dedryck was older, had played less football, and City allowed him to leave for £1.5m. The claim that we could make him into a Belgium regular seemed fanciful.
Belgium are the top team in the Fifa rankings. Getting anywhere near this squad is an achievement, but Dedryck is now a regular fixture. When Jason Denayer made a late entrance in the game against Iceland last night, it was captain, Vincent Kompany he replaced, not the Celtic central defender.
Dedryck has only been at Celtic three years and the early months of his time here were memorable for an own goal against Malmo and a very poor performance away to Molde. His transformation is beyond belief.