German legend Jurgen Klinsmann has hailed former Celtic defender Dedryck Boyata as “one of Europe’s best”.
Boyata left Parkhead for free in the summer after his contract ran out. He decided to head to the Bundesliga with Hertha Berlin after securing the treble-treble.
Perhaps surprisingly for some, Boyata has been successful in securing regular football in one of Europe’s top leagues. Despite a slow start to his Hertha career thanks to a thigh knock, Dedryck has started all 14 of the Bundesliga matches he’s been available for (Transfermarkt).
And it’s clear he’s impressing. His new manager Klinsmann, who only took charge of Berlin last month, has given Boyata immense praise. Speaking in comments published by the Scottish Sun, here’s what he had to say:
“For me, Dedryck Boyata is one of Europe’s best defenders at the moment. He’s at the top of his game and he’s been absolutely terrific for me. Since I arrived here, at every training session and every game he’s been inspirational.
“He makes a difference to us in every match he plays. He reads the game and is a great leader and the rest of the team have recognised that. He’s been excellent.”
Boyata’s general defending at Celtic was never in doubt
Klinsmann, who won the World Cup with West Germany back in 1990, has clearly gone over the top here. Boyata, for all of his talent, is nowhere near one of Europe’s top defenders. If he was, you can bet Peter Lawwell would’ve wangled some fee for him!
But what can’t be denied is Boyata’s defensive traits. His awareness, clearances, and timing of tackles were all top-notch at Parkhead. After Brendan Rodgers came in and wrapped his arm around Boyata, he proved to be one of our biggest assets in the treble-treble run.
It needs to be remembered that the Belgian was here for all three years of our clean sweep successes. Had it not been for Boyata, we likely wouldn’t have won all nine trophies throughout that run.
However, at the same time, his passing from the back left a lot to be desired. There were plenty of big-game moments when the big man would play careless balls out from defence. He just wasn’t suited to that style of play, and that’s why he isn’t one of Europe’s top defenders.
His game-time with Belgium has also dried up in recent times too, playing just one out of a possible eight games since leaving Parkhead (Transfermarkt).
Hertha sit 13th in the Bundesliga at the time of writing. Under Klinsmann, Boyata has played five times and only lost once. His stats read well this season as he continues to impress in his first season in Germany.
But does he sit alongside the likes of Virgil Van Dijk, Thiago Silva, and Giorgio Chiellini? Seems a tad far-fetched.