Vincent Kompany has urged Dedryck Boyata to put his recent sending off and the freak goal Poznan scored from his headed clearance in midweek behind him and continue with his glittering progress.
The young Belgian defender sees fellow countryman Kompany as something of a mentor and the pair could be playing at the heart of defence for both club and country in the not-too-distant future.
In an exclusive interview in the latest ManC magazine, Kompany says nothing has changed in his belief that Boyata will develop into a top defender.
“For me, Dedryck has been the surprise of the season for us,” he said.
“We already knew from the back end of last season that he is a very valuable asset for the team and he’d played in some big games, so everyone knew we could trust him –and gaining trust from your team-mates at such an early age is not such an easy thing to achieve – but he has managed to do that within a short space of time.
We all thought that with the new investment and players coming in that it would be difficult for young players to break through, but yet again, not far into the season, Dedryck has been very useful to the team
“We all mis-time tackles occasionally and red cards are an occupational hazard for defenders and the goal at Poznan was a one in a thousand chance and not his fault at all.”
Kompany and Boyata have a number of similarities in that they both won their first full Belgium cap as teenagers, are both from Brussels and also each of Congolese descent. Far from being a decent prospect, Kompany reckons the 19-year-old is the real deal.
“I’m very pleased with Dedryck’s development because being a talent, I believe, means very little,” he said.
“What means a lot to me is being willing to progress by listening to advice and criticism – and Dedryck has these qualities and has improved again this season and if he keeps going in the direction he is, you know he’ll be able to stand his ground in a very good team.”
The November issue of ManC, which also features exclusive interviews with James Milner and Nigel de Jong, is out now, priced £3.50.