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Why Dedryck Boyata has it all to prove at Celtic and is under huge pressure

Celtic's Dedryck Boyata cannot afford to fail at Celtic.

Dedryck Boyata signed for Celtic last week, aiming to re-vitalise a career which has stalled in recent years.

He replaces former loanee Jason Denayer in central defence, who returns to the club he has just left, Manchester City.

Boyata was once City's breakthrough star, impressing in a League Cup semi-final against rivals Manchester United back in 2011, but he failed to kick on.

His case was not helped by the managerial changes at City, and he was sent out on loan twice, to Bolton and later Dutch side FC Twente.

If Denayer's loan spell at Celtic was an example of a successful season, Boyata's time at both clubs fell short, and on each occasion he headed back to Manchester City with more questions than answers.

Boyata is no 24-years-old, and has been judged surplus to requirement at City, while Denayer, a player five years younger, is being lined up as their next big hope in defence.

He will instead be hoping he can enjoy the same kind of career pick-me-up as Denayer did while playing for Celtic, but the club have the luxury of keeping him this time, after he penned a four-year permanent contract.

With Denayer so highly regarded, Boyata will have to deal with comparisons to the teenager, and make his own jump to adjust to playing regular football, something he has not had the benefit of during his career to date, used sparingly at City and on loan.

There are question marks over the future of top star Virgil van Dijk, who is wanted by English Premier League clubs, with The Star this week linking Sunderland with his services.

If Van Dijk departs then the pressure on Boyata to make an instant impression only grows, demands which make his own personal challenge to find his feet more difficult. If he fails then it could be his last chance to succeed at a big club, given his age, and inability to become a regular at City.

The former Manchester City youngster is capable of becoming a top star for Celtic, but expectations must be tempered, given the pressure he finds himself under, that he is no quick fix to replace Denayer or even Van Dijk.

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