“Young players are mainly a number”: Celtic defender’s father warns youth against Premier League move

Dedryck Boyata

The father of Celtic and Belgium defender Dedryck Boyata has discouraged young players from moving to the Premier League as the teams are more focused on profit than development.

Boyata joined Manchester City when he was 16 years old but struggled to break into the first team and had loan spells at Bolton and Twente, before leaving in 2015 having made just 35 senior appearances.

His father, Bienvenu Boyata, was speaking after a report from the University of Antwerp and agency Stirr Associates claimed young Belgian players were better off not moving to England without first team experience.

“It’s all about gaining experience,” he told Het Nieuwsblad

“To get opportunities. And you do not get that fast in England.

“It’s just very difficult to get there on the first team. Even (Romelu) Lukaku and (Kevin) De Bruyne, who had already gained experience in Belgium, were not used at Chelsea. However, they were sold with profit, and that’s what the English clubs seem to do.

“It is primarily a business. Young players are mainly a number. They are not bought to drop in the team, but to commercialise and make a profit. The cash register must ring.”