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Thibaut Courtois shares some tricks of the trade

Paul Gilham

Much like Petr Cech, Thibaut Courtois seems the scholarly, considered type. He's not a reflex goalkeeper like David de Gea nor a wholly insane one like Manuel Neuer, but rather an excellent all-around whose most important assets are his decision-making and concentration. And so when he expounds upon the details of his art, it behooves everyone to listen:

If you play away from the defence then the opposition players want to centre the ball. If they see a goalkeeper close to the defenders they don’t have the space to centre the ball into, or if they play a high ball forward and they see the keeper coming, the next ball they have to play far away from the goal so there is less danger.

From when I was a young boy in Genk I was told to come out when I can and now here at Chelsea it is really important because the defence play higher [up the pitch] than Atletico. There the defence was lower and I didn’t have to come out that much. With good positioning in front of the goal you can come out further and easier than if you are too much on your line.


Courtois is probably the best in the world at cutting off crosses, which was obvious even when he wasn't doing it that much with Atlético Madrid. But now he's at Chelsea, with the block playing a little higher than Diego Simeone's ultra-low approach, his command of the box is utterly exquisite. Normally, goalkeepers arriving in the Premier League wilt under sustained aerial bombardment, but Courtois is handling that without a problem and coming up with some very impressive saves to boot.

I wish the official site had asked him about his distribution, which is the only part of his game I'm actually worried about, but I guess we can't have it all.

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