Belgian stopper Simon Mignolet bolstered Liverpool’s goalkeeping ranks when he completed a switch from Barclays Premier League side Sunderland in June 2013.
Despite dreams of playing in an outfield position, the 25-year-old started his career with hometown club Sint-Truiden between the posts and progressed quickly through the youth levels.
In total Mignolet made 104 appearances for Sint-Truiden and contributed as the Belgian team achieved promotion to the top flight during the 2008-09 campaign by winning the second division title.
Remarkably, Simon actually scored a goal for the team during that season. In a match at Ronse in April 2009, the ‘keeper stepped up to attempt a penalty kick and converted the rebound after his initial effort was blocked.
Growing in confidence and developing an imposing presence as the last line of defence, Mignolet played 39 league matches the following year to help Sint-Truiden finish fifth and enter the end-of-season play-offs.
Some of Europe’s biggest clubs were beginning to circle around the promising stopper and it was Sunderland who were victorious in the race for the Belgian’s signature; a fee of around £2million was agreed.