Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet received a number of birthday messages on Twitter after posting a picture of his celebratory cake, but few would have expected Belgium manager Marc Wilmots to be among the public well wishers.
Mignolet turned 26 on Wednesday and received a cake that included a picture of him making a penalty save against Stoke City earlier this season - and he proceeded to share this with his 337,000 followers.
This tweet attracted numerous nice messages from fans of the first-choice Liverpool shot-stopper, including one that came direct from the official account of Wilmots. Mignolet has drawn criticism in the Belgian press of late after expressing his unhappiness that the Belgian No.1 jersey belongs to Thibaut Courtois rather than him. But Wilmots isn’t having any of it.
The Belgium boss tweeted: “Enjoy Simon! You know that I think you are a great keeper, who always deals professionally with my choices and has the greatest respect for the group and the trainers, in contrast to reports in the media. Thank You Simon!"
Mignolet has been in fine form for Liverpool since moving to Anfield from Sunderland, but will travel to the World Cup with Courtois still the undoubted first-choice between the sticks for Belgium.
Liverpool have kept eight clean sheets with Mignolet in goal this term, but Courtois remains the man in possession at international level given his excellent performances for Atletico Madrid. But there is some solace to be taken from the fact Mignolet retains the support of his nation’s manager while his professionalism is called into question elsewhere.