Dedryck Boyata had the chance on Monday to show what he could do on the biggest stage of all. He did this in front of his mentor, Vincent Kompany, the man he deputised for as Belgium began their 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia campaign with a 3-0 win over Panama, reports Fifa.com.
In a journey that has been more than ten years in the making, the fates have conspired to take the two Brussels-born players from Belgium to Russia via England with Les Diables Rouges. And it was in Sochi that one of Belgian football’s prodigal sons pulled out all the stops under the appreciative gaze of a player he has always looked up to. “I’d rather keep to myself what Vincent had to say to me after my performance, but he really touched my heart,” said Boyata with a modesty reminiscent of ‘Vinnie’ himself.“I learned to grow with him, but it’s important for me to make my own way and I’ve achieved my goal. He’s become just another team-mate,” explained Boyata, who at the age of 27 is intent on distinguishing himself from the player he most resembles.