Kevin De Bruyne might have hogged the headlines but Belgium manager Roberto Martinez was keen to pay tribute to Leander Dendoncker after the Wolverhampton Wanderers stalwart helped the Red Devils thump Scotland at Hampden Park, speaking to Voetbal Krant.
After battering Steve Clarke’s side 3-0 on home soil, Belgium went one better in Glasgow. Romelu Lukaku, Thomas Vermaelen, Toby Alderweireld and the irrepressible De Bruyne were all on the score sheet as Scotland were put to the sword in front of a miserable Glasgow crowd.
The Manchester City star looked a cut above throughout with Martinez describing him afterwards as the world’s greatest play-maker but the role of Dendoncker, who earned his sixth international cap on Monday night, should not be overlooked.
The former Anderlecht enforcer started alongside Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans with Axel Witsel ruled out through injury and Martinez has hailed his ability to step up to the occasion.
"We gave Tielemans and Dendoncker a difficult task. We knew that the two of them would face three Scots (in central midfield). They did well. That way our three attackers could take advantage of the space," said the former Everton and Wigan Athletic boss, making sure to point out Tielemans' role too.
“Dendoncker has already done an excellent job against Russia and Cyprus. We now have an extra player who is knocking on the door.
Dendoncker and Tielemans formed a good couple. Scotland is technically good, but they can also be physically strong. Dendoncker held up well.”
The £12 million man hasn’t been immune from social media critics this season with some sections of the Wolves support taking aim at a player who is yet to rediscover his form from an impressive debut campaign at Molineux.
But Dendoncker should return after the international break with his confidence through the roof.
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