Belgian stopper Simon Mignolet is determined to grasp any opportunity given to him by Reds boss Brendan Rodgers as he competes with Pepe Reina for Liverpool’s goalkeeping spot.
The 25-year-old was added to Rodgers’ ranks last month to provide competition alongside the Spaniard for 2013-14 — a scenario Mignolet has already experienced for club and country.
“Competition is going to be in every single club,” No. 22 said at a news conference Wednesday. “I had competition back in Belgium with the local team, I had big competition at Sunderland, where there was Craig Gordon, Keiren Westwood and other international goalkeepers, and I had big competition with the Belgium national team. So that’s not going to change.
“Everywhere you go, especially when you go to a bigger club, there’s always going to be a fight for places, and definitely when you’re a goalkeeper, because only one can play. But it’s a challenge. It can only make you better and make you stronger in the end. I can just do my best, train as well as I can, and in the games that I get a chance, I will show what I’m worth.
“I just look at myself, getting myself back fit after the break. I only had three weeks off when the season finished with Belgium.
“I was still in good shape when I arrived here, and now, the only thing I can do is train hard and do my very best in training and the games coming up.
“I’ll just do my best to play every week. I’m not here to be sitting and resting. I’m here to come and progress and play. The only thing I can do is train hard, show the manager that I’m ready for it, and in the games when I get my chance, I have to be there and be ready.”
Mignolet played 90 Barclays Premier League matches during his time with former club Sunderland, keeping 30 clean sheets along the way, but he senses a different kind of ambition at his new team.
“For me, it’s a big step forward, and I’m very pleased to be training with the team for two weeks now,” he said. “I spoke to the manager, and he told me that it’s going to be a big step forward.
“We play the first game on Saturday, and after that, with the more we do on tour, I’ll see how big a step forward it is for me. At the moment, it’s only training, and I have to get used to the players and the way of playing. Once we get going, I’ll know what it’s going to be like.
“When I came in for the first couple of training sessions, I saw that everybody is very hungry and ambitious to get going, everybody wants to take a step forward and push on into the top four.
“There’s big ambition around the club. I also noticed that from the conversations I had with the goalkeeping coach and the gaffer. I saw that they are very ambitious, want to get forward, winning trophies and getting into the top four.”
Photo via Facebook/Simon Mignolet