City defender Jason Denayer has been tipped to progress to the pinnacle of the beautiful game by Belgium manager Marc Wilmots.
The Red Devils boss handed the young centre back his senior international debut earlier this term, and believes Denayer could go on to become “world class” if he continues to progress at his current rate.
Jason has enjoyed a stellar season on loan to Celtic, winning the Scottish Premier League and Scottish League Cup, as well as being voted Scotland’s Young Player of the Year and the plaudits have flooded in, including the latest tribute from his national team boss.
Said Wilmots: "I went to Milan to see him play for Celtic against Inter Milan. After 30 minutes, Celtic were down to ten men and then I saw what a player he is. He took command and remained calm and controlled his defence.
"First and foremost, he defends. He's also fast and his positional sense is superb. I'm not saying he is in pole position to start against Wales in Cardiff in June because the match is still over a month away.
"But what I will say is that Jason has enormous potential. If he continues to evolve at the rate he is progressing, he can be world class."
Denayer played the first half of Celtic’s stalemate with St Johnstone at the weekend as Ronny Deila shuffled his pack following the title win – confirmed two weeks’ ago.
It was another clean sheet for the Bhoys, and another feather in the cap for Denayer and centre back parter Virgil Van Dijk, who have helped Celtic record more shutouts than Chelsea and Juventus this season.
Keeper Mark McNally has saluted their efforts, and he points out that while playing for the Scottish Champions may mean less defending is necessary, concentration is key.
McNally said of the young defensive duo: “Celtic have the bulk of possession in games and the boys will be watching most matches being played in front of them. Yet if they switch off for a split second, they’ll get caught on the counter.
“Their pace, physique and power as well as concentration levels have offset those issues.
...Mark McNally on Denayer and van Dijk..
“There have been plenty of times when they’ve been left one-on-one at the back and they have coped. Pace means so much in the modern game and they have it.
“In the past, a physical centre-half could win his headers and clear the ball anywhere and it would be classed a good performance. Now the boys at the back are under pressure to play football as well as defend.”
John Guidetti was an unused sub against St Johnstone.
Karim Rekik chalked up another 90 minutes alongside defensive partner in crime Jeffrey Bruma as PSV closed their title-winning campaign with a 3-2 victory over ADO Den Haag.
The win confirmed a record-breaking season after the new Champions totted up the club’s highest ever points tally in the country’s top division.
Happy with the record of most points for PSV in the eredivisie ever! Well done boys! ⚪️🔴🏆 pic.twitter.com/0l9z0QjYPf— Karim Rekik (@Karim_Rekik_44) May 17, 2015
It’s been a sensational campaign for Rekik in his native Netherlands, and his contribution has been recognised at international level with a call-up to the senior Dutch squad for their Euro 2016 qualifier against Latvia.
The defender has missed just five league games all season and also built up his European CV with eight Europa League starts as he continues his progress with one eye on a future place in City’s first choice XI.
Meanwhile, the Dutch season isn’t quite over for Divine Naah with NAC Breda now set for a relegation play-off with the Go Ahead Eagles.
Naah didn’t recover from injury in time to play any part in his side’s final day thrilling 5-4 defeat to Groningen – former City man Albert Rusnak set up Groningen’s second.
However, NAC Breda will be hoping the Ghanaian is fit to help them avoid the drop in the do or die battle with the Eagles.
On the other side of the pond, Shay Facey emerged from the bench after half an hour to shore up the back line following RJ Allen’s sending off and helped New York City claim an unlikely draw.
Two goals and a man down to Chicago Fire, NYCFC showed their fighting spirit to equalise in stoppage time with Khiry Shelton’s first ever goal in the MLS.
@khiryshelton14 and @ShayFacey played real well tonight. Way to fight for the point #NYCFC #ThirdRail— Garrett Rodgers (@GarrettRodgers) May 16, 2015
Proud to be apart of a fantastic team effort and turn around tonight. Thanks guys for standing by Us. Good times ahead!! #NYCFC— Shay Facey (@ShayFacey) May 16, 2015
It was a frustrating weekend for Marcos Lopes, part of the Lille side that went down 4-0 to Ligue 1 rivals Marseille. The Portuguese was replaced shortly after the hour and will hope for better things when his side conclude their campaign next weekend away to Metz.
Alvaro Negredo was a 70th minute substitute as Valencia fought out a 1-1 draw with Celta Vigo in La Liga. That result leaves Los Che just a single point ahead of Sevilla with one game remaining in the fight for fourth place.
Scott Sinclair and Aston Villa officially confirmed their Premier League status for next season despite a 6-1 drubbing at the hands of Southampton.
The winger watched the majority of his side’s demolition at St Mary’s from the bench and looked as if he might escape any part of it, but was brought on for the last eight minutes by boss Tim Sherwood.
Fortunately for him he came on just after the last goal was scored, so his pride remained intact on a difficult afternoon for Villa, but they can now look forward to the FA Cup final at the end of the month with Premier League safety mathematically guaranteed.
Bismark Boateng played the first 66 minutes and helped Stromsgodset to a 3-1 win over Aalesund that leaves them ninth in the Eliteserien table.
Godsway Donyoh and Falkenberg had the weekend off ahead of their Tuesday clash with Kalmar, while Micah Richards didn’t manage to shake off an injury in time to feature in the second leg of the Europa League semi-final, which Fiorentina lost 2-0 to Sevilla.
He will be hoping t make his return in Monday night's Serie A clash with Parma.