Celtic’s centre-half, Dedryck Boyata had played four games for Belgium in the World Cup, and the Hoops fan would have been keen to welcome him back after a good outing in Russia. However, what unfolded in the summer was far from impressive as the defender almost pushed his way out of the club and made himself unavailable for a brief period even though he was considered fit enough to play. All these things didn’t go down well with the fans as they jeered him when he came back to the playing eleven, but Brendan Rodgers asked them to back the centre-half.
He had earlier said,”Obviously I would have preferred a different reaction, but I am not going to criticise the supporters. I will give credit to Dedryck and how he coped with it, and you saw the (positive) reaction from probably three-quarters of the ground. When you are trying to redeem yourself, sometimes it takes a bit of time. Naturally supporters, the real passionate supporters, look for that commitment in the player, it is not always about ability. The reaction of three-quarters of the stadium plus his team-mates, you see we are all together.”
”It wouldn’t have been easy for him. I think he did all his talking on the pitch. I thought he was top-class, everything he had to do he did it with real quality, and of course he gets the winning goal (against Hamilton).”- he added further.
The manager was in a precarious situation as he knew that Boyata was quite easily the standout defender for him and he couldn’t just leave him out from the squad as it could have ruined his side’s ongoing season. Boyata’s comeback has also coincided with three consecutive clean sheets, and the Hoops are looking settled at the back after a sub-par start to the season which saw them bow out of the Champions League qualifiers. The anger from the fan is justifiable but if one thinks from the player’s point of view, he took his chances to play in a bigger league after an impressive outing in Russia.
The good thing is that Boyata has taken all the criticism well to his chin and has put in some critical performances so far. He was a monster at the back against Rangers, and that performance would have won over some fans. The fans should probably prepare for the departure in the future but during the season if he keeps his head down and puts in top performances, maybe they would slowly warm up to him.
A player’s career is short, and there’s no denying that the 27-year-old was tempted to play in some of the top leagues of the world. However, the good thing is that the defender is at the club for the time being and has shown the willingness to put things behind. The fans should back him as long as he is at the club, but they shouldn’t expect him to stay for long.