“He is not cocky. Not at all. Every morning he shuffles down and eats his bread with Nutella.” -Â Gitte Lambert,Â Thibaut’s mum.
“Next season he’ll be under the crossbar at Genk. But one day the next step will have to follow course. To a bigger club, a bigger competition.” -Â ThierryÂ Courtois,Â Thibaut’s dad.
“I do not want to leave Genk to become a number two or number three. I want to play.” -Â Thibaut Courtois.
According to the throughly unreliable transfer grape-vine, the newest goalkeeper attracting attention from the Premier League’s big boys is Genk’sÂ 19-year-old shotstopperÂ Thibaut Courtois. Aside from rumoured interest garnered fromÂ Chelsea, Manchester United, Spurs and Newcastle, Benfica, Hoffenheim and Schalke have also been reported to be sniffing around the young talent.
The last twelve months have been an amazing journey for the teenage keeper.
Courtois began his career with local sideÂ Bilzen VV where he started life as a left back. Soon after, in 1999, he was snapped up by Genk, and it was there thatÂ Courtois was converted into a keeper by accident. According to the story, Genk were playing in a tournament in Germany when then urgently needed a stand in keeper.Â Courtois stood up an said “I can do that,” and before he knew it he was being voted the best goalkeeper at the competition.
After progressing through the Genk youth system,Â Courtois got his debut back in 2009 with the first team. However it was the 2010/11 season which has seen the boy become a man on the football field.
StandingÂ 6ft 4in tall,Â Courtois was given his opportunity at the start of the season to be the Genk number one, and the youngster gobbled up the chance wholly. In his first major season as a professional,Â Courtois featured in a whopping forty matches as Genk sowed up the Jupiler League title for the first time since the 2001/2 season.
Courtois has been pinpointed as a major reason for Genk’s new-found success. Seen as the best keeper in Belgium,Â Courtois is revered for his fast reflexes, massive frame, fine kicking ability and command of his area. In short, he is said to be the complete goalkeeping package.
Video evidence ofÂ Thibaut Courtois’ recent performance in Genk’s 3-2 win over Gent can be seen here.