Lyon centre-back Jason Denayer has talked up his one year stint at Celtic back in the 2014/15 campaign.
Denayer joined the Hoops on a season-long loan from Manchester City in Ronny Deila’s first season at the club. It proved to be a memorable one too as Celtic secured a double and bagged what was, at the time, their fourth consecutive league championship.
Former City man Denayer played a key role in that campaign too. He formed a sensational partnership alongside Virgil Van Dijk – making 44 appearances for the Hoops and experiencing European football for the first time (Transfermarkt).
And speaking in comments published by the Scottish Sun, Denayer couldn’t help but big up his year in Glasgow as he revealed details of a discussion he had with Arsenal great Patrick Viera.
“I was at Manchester City and during the summer of 2014 and Patrick Vieira came to my house. He said to me, ‘Look, the Celtic coach has called me’. He had already watched me in reserve games.
“Patrick said, ‘He is interested in you and you have to go to Celtic – it will be a great experience’. For me, it was a big thing to make the transition between the young teams and first team. I didn’t think twice about it and I went to Celtic.
“It was more difficult to adapt than I thought, because I did not speak English very well. But in terms of football, I settled very quickly after scoring in my first game. I had a fantastic season at Celtic. We won trophies and it was great for me.”
Denayer has come a long way since Parkhead spell
Since leaving Glasgow, Denayer had loan spells with Galatasaray and Sunderland respectively before signing for Lyon permanently in 2018.
Since then, he hasn’t looked back. He’s a constant with the Ligue 1 side – making 37 appearances for them this season and helping them secure a last-16 place in the Champions League (Transfermarkt).
Denayer played the full 90 minutes of Lyon’s 1-0 win at home to Juventus in the first leg of that last-16 tie. Given the current situation regarding the health crisis, there’s no guarantee that the tie will end. But even so, it’s a huge sign of how far he’s come.
We probably won’t ever see Denayer back at Parkhead again. Unless, of course, it’s as a rival player. But his status in the game will ensure that he’s playing in top European leagues for as long as he wants.
It’s always great seeing players like the Belgian defender speak highly of the club of course. Denayer was pretty much unheard of when he came to Glasgow, with his time at Celtic helping to push his status in the game.
Now, six years on from when he arrived, he’s finally reaping the rewards of it.