Dedryck Boyata: Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers not drawn on defender's future

By Chris McLaughlinBBC Scotland in Athens
Dedryck Boyata
Dedryck Boyata has not played for Celtic since last season
Champions League qualifying: AEK Athens v Celtic
Venue: Olympic Stadium, Athens Date: Tuesday, 14 August Kick-off: 19:00 BST
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland 810MW/DAB/online; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Manager Brendan Rodgers has refused to say whether Dedryck Boyata has played his last game for Celtic.

The Belgium defender, 27, did not travel with his team-mates to Greece for Tuesday's Champions League qualifier against AEK Athens.

That followed comments from Boyata's agent stating Celtic had blocked a potential transfer.

"It's more sad than a distraction. He's a player that we would have loved to have been here with us," said Rodgers.

Boyata, the subject of an unsuccessful Fulham bid in recent weeks, has won three league titles and three domestic cups since joining Celtic under Rodgers' predecessor Ronny Deila in 2015 and has won 10 international caps, including three appearances at this year's World Cup.

Celtic are tied 1-1 with AEK going into Tuesday's second leg, with a Champions League play-off place the prize for the winner.

"It would've been great to have had him here, but he's not," added Rodgers.

"We have to put the faith in the squad of players that want to be here and want to fight for the result and that's my focus, really - on the players that we have.

"It's disappointing some of the comments of course but we'll deal with it internally. My concentration and focus really is just to prepare the team for what is a big game and a fantastic game for us. That's my only consideration at this moment."

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