Dedryck Boyata doesn’t want to think ahead to next year’s World Cup Finals in Russia.
Tom Rogic, Mikael Lustig and Jonny Hayes have play-off matches coming up over the next couple of weeks but the picture is much more straight forward for Boyata and Cristian Gamboa with Belgium and Costa Rica safely through to the finals.
Boyata was in the Belgium squad for the final qualifiers but wasn’t called off the bench by Roberto Martinez.
The former Manchester City defender returned from injury five weeks ago and has his full concentration switched on to domestic matters as he navigates through Celtic’s hectic fixture schedule.
â€œThe World Cup would be a dream but for myself it is step by step,â€� he told the Daily Record.
â€œI have been in this position before, talking about things that could happen, and then I got injured.
â€œItâ€™s just step by step, thinking about what is coming up this week. Roberto Martinez has been very happy with what I am doing here. The national team is another story. There are other players, good names, but it is step by step.
â€œIt is always a good thing for me to be with the national squad because I can think back to the two months behind me when I was on crutches.
â€œWhen you get there, you want to play but to do that I have to play well here first.
â€œThe Champions League could help, but I donâ€™t really think that way. For me, it is first about playing here, then playing well and then going to the national team and waiting for a chance. We will see what happens.â€�
With Jozo Simunovic and Erik Sviatchenko both out injured a greater onus than ever has been put on to Boyata and his fitness.
In Celtic’s last two fixtures he has been partnered by Mikael Lustig and Nir Bitton with the Israeli expected to start tonight’s top of the table clash away to Aberdeen.