Thomas Foket 22 Defender KAA Gent Belgium
In the words of Belgian editor of BeNeFoot Bjorn DeCock, Thomas Foket possesses “good defending, pace and efficient dribbling makes the former attacker one of the most interesting Belgian players on the transfer market next summer.” There is a lot to like about Thomas as a full-back/wing-back/wide midfielder or whatever position it is that he takes wide right of Gent’s very modern 3-4-3.
His first start for Gent in October 2012 was a game he will hope to forget. His side were on the wrong end of a brutal 0-5 drubbing at the hands of Anderlecht and Foket was hauled off after 69 minutes. He was restricted to four more appearances during that season. Thankfully, the Belgian clubs know better than to judge a player on a mere handful of appearances, and now four years later the 22 year-old is a regular in the team and a recent full international.
2016 has been…
“He's one of the most important players in Hein Van Haezebrouck's system,” explained Bjorn. With Gent playing three at the back, the two wide players are expected to look a whole flank and in that, they end up covering a lot of ground. Foket has taken on that huge amount of responsibility and flourished. He is not only handle Gent’s demanding system, but do so with flying colours.
2016 will finish on a high for Thomas – barring serious injury – after his recent cap for the full Belgium side and new manager Roberto Martinez. Playing against the Netherlands in a reasonably tame friendly, a slight strain for the first choice right-back Thomas Meunier meant that Foket was allowed to play the entirety of the second half.
He did fine. It was 45 minutes in a tame friendly at the end of a calendar year so we won’t be confirming Foket to be a natural at international level just yet; but it will be encouraging for the player to know he’s already in the sights of the new boss.
As Bjorn mentioned at the beginning, the transfer wagons will almost certainly be circling around Foket. His experience playing in a system with three centre-backs and having to do a job up and down the pitch won’t have gone unnoticed. It is very much a huge tick in the plus column for any side weighing him up as an option, and taking a look around to see a spike in teams trying a three man defence around the continent.
He’s enjoyed European football over the last two years – Champions League in 2015/16 and the Europa League so far this term – and he has improved as a football when competing against the best players in the world.
Unfortunately for Foket, Thomas Meunier is the current first choice for Belgium and barring an extended time on the sidelines for the Paris Saint-Germain we don’t really expect that to change. In theory Foket has two or three free years to become as strong of a defender as he can – and simply wait on his chance to arrive.
C+ Has been really impressive in the last 18 months; keep going
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