Wolves midfielder Leander Dendoncker has been praised for his role as the support cast to Kevin De Bruyne for Belgium.
De Bruyne stole the show in the 4-0 win against Scotland at Hampden on Monday by setting up three goals before scoring the fourth himself to continue Belgium’s 100 per cent record in their Euro 2020 qualifiers.
But Dendoncker and Leicester midfielder Youri Tielemans gave the Manchester City star the platform to carry out his vision with a passing masterclass. De Bruyne was at his best as he set up Romelu Lukaku, Thomas Vermaelen, Toby Alderweireld before adding himself to the scoresheet against the Tartan Army in Glasgow.
Belgium coach Roberto Martinez believes the efforts of Dendoncker, who stepped up in the absence of Axel Witsel through injury, shouldn’t be overlooked, and believes the former Anderlecht man has played himself into contention for a regular spot.
“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,” the former Everton and Wigan boss told Voetbal Krant.
“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 are technically good, but they can also be physically strong. Dendoncker held up well.”
Dendoncker now returns to Wolves hoping to continue his international form in the Premier League, as Nuno Espirito Santo’s side prepare to host Chelsea on Saturday. The 24-year-old hasn’t enjoyed the best start to the season and was partly blamed for Everton’s third goal in the 3-2 defeat at Goodison Park last time out, failing to stop the cross from which Richarlison climbed above Willy Boly to head the winner.
Analysing the goals, former Nottingham Forest, Newcastle and Villa midfielder Jermaine Jenas said on Match of the Day 2: “From set-pieces they looked susceptible and it looked like there was a problem; when Dendoncker got that tight (to Lucas Digne for the cross for Everton’s third goal) that ball cannot come in to the box. But it does. Boly’s awareness is terrible – he hasn’t got a clue where Richarlison is when the ball comes in, the left wing back (Ruben Vinagre) is not even communicating with him, and it hits the back of the net.”