Thanks boss! Bo selector makes Boyata smile
- Sun 26 Sep 2010, 10:28AM
- Posted by Peter Ferguson
Dedryck Boyata gave a magnificent performance in the victory over Chelsea - despite not realising he was in the starting line-up even when he saw Roberto Mancini's teamsheet before the game!
Academy graduate Boyata played a key role in boss Mancini's 'band of brothers' back four as the Premier League champions succumbed to Carlos Tevez's second-half winner at the City of Manchester Stadium.
But deputising at right-back in City's injury-hit side came as a complete surprise to the Belgium Under-21 prospect, who had played centre-half in the makeshift Carling Cup team pipped at West Brom in midweek.
Dedryck revealed: "I wasn't expecting to start, because usually in training we have a starting XI and I wasn't on it, so when I first saw the board and my name was up there I was kind of shocked.
"I knew that the coach had a choice and when I saw the names he had just put the first two letters, BO, so was it Boateng or Boyata? I had to check with someone else that it was my name. I was like, 'OK, it's me.'"
Germany defender Jerome Boateng did come off the bench to make his belated Premier League after injury, but by that time Boyata had already helped see off star Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, who rarely threatened.
Boyata, 19, was fast-tracked to the first team last Christmas when Mancini arrived to find an injury crisis, and his accomplished displays have seen him emerge as the "senior junior" in the City manager's thinking.
He said: "I used to see these guys like Drogba and Malouda on TV, and now I've got the chance to play against them - so thanks to the coach for that!
Chelsea have got some great players, and it's great to play against them
"It's a big step for me from last year, and it's not the same anymore as when I first got in the team. The coach has shown faith in me, and I'm just doing my best to thank him and pay him back on the pitch."
Dedryck now hopes to see BO on the teamsheet on Thursday night: "Juventus, Chelsea, they're great teams and you want to play against them. I've had a bit of physio, I got a knock on my knee, but we'll wait and see."