Kolo Toure says Simon Mignolet was only inspired to work harder for his place in Liverpool’s goal when he was dropped earlier this season.
After an underwhelming start to the season for the Belgian, Brendan Rodgers started Brad Jones in goal for Liverpool’s 3-0 defeat at Manchester United in December, with the Australian keeping his place ahead of Mignolet for subsequent fixtures at home to Arsenal and away at Burnley on Boxing Day.
However, Jones was forced off due to injury just 25 minutes into the clash at Turf Moor and Mignolet resumed his place, where his form rapidly began to improve.
Now Toure has revealed how Mignolet stepped up his hard work behind the scenes when he was dropped and now regards the Belgian as one of the best players in the Liverpool team.
“When he was not starting the games, Simon was still the one in the gym, working harder and preparing his game just as he used to,” Toure told the club’s official website.
“When Brad was injured, he came straight back in and he took his place again. That’s all about mentality. That’s all about when you have a tough time how you fight to come back.
“I was confident that he would return to this level. I always talked to him because we both speak French. He’s a guy who will never give up. He’s the guy who comes every morning and works hard – he never changes.
“As a defender, when you have a good time, it’s fantastic and everybody talks well about you, but when the tough times come, people start to point at you and that’s when you see strong defenders.
“That’s when you see players who have character. Simon is a great guy and he is a big character. It’s been tough for him but he’s never given up.
“He’s just been working hard and now we can see what he has been doing for the team has been unbelievable. I think right now, he’s one of the best players in our team.”
Mignolet will be hoping to continue his good form, which has been coupled by improved defensive performances by Liverpool, when the Reds meet Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup on Sunday afternoon.
The quarter-final clash gets underway at 4pm and is live on BT Sport 1 in the UK.