Belgian national team head coach, Mark Wilmots announced his squad for the upcoming European Qualifiers against Iceland and Wales in a press conference yesterday.
The Belgium manager inevitably faced a host of questions regarding the recent controversy surrounding teammates, Kevin De Bruyne and Thibaut Courtois. However, Wilmots was quick to dismiss rumours of disharmony in his squad and stated that both players are exemplary professionals and are willing to put the issue behind them.
In his autobiography that released a couple of weeks ago, former Chelsea midfielder Kevin De Bruyne spoke about Courtois’ alleged relationship with his girlfriend. The excerpt sparked controversies in the Belgian and foreign press, as the media questioned the emotional state of both players while playing together and how it could affect the national team in an adverse way.
De Bruyne also revealed that Wilmots had spoken to him before games against Scotland and Serbia, asking whether Courtois should be excluded from the squad for the two games.
The Belgium manager confirmed yesterday that he had indeed asked for De Bruyne’s opinion regarding Courtois’ possible exclusion. However, he stated that it was a tactical question, in order to determine the emotional state of the player and that the player’ response did not have any effect on the selection whatsoever.
“This happened before two important games and I had to test the emotional level of De Bruyne”, stated Wilmots.
Further, Wilmots also stated how it was not ideal to reveal stories like these in public and attested his dislike towards biographies, stating “these things should remain private”.
Wilmots also reflected on his relationship with Lieven Maesschalck, who ended his role as a therapist for the Belgian national team.
“We had a discussion and mutually decided to stop our collaboration. This is a decision taken by two adults who enjoyed working together”, he said.