Footballers who excel at international tournaments are invariably linked with moves to bigger, more established clubs both during and immediately after such tournaments. Global coverage brings that about. Patrik Berger is one example from Liverpool’s past because he was signed from Borussia Dortmund at the age of 22 years and 32 days after the Wembley final of Euro 96, in which he had scored for the Czech Republic. Divock Origi became an even younger example by signing for Liverpool in the week of the 2014 World Cup final in Brazil with nine months of his teenage years still left.
Although Origi was born in the Belgian port city of Ostend, his background is the East African country of Kenya. Divock’s father Michael was born in Kenya but played for six different clubs in Belgium and it was during his time at the first of those clubs, K.V. Oostende, that Divock was born in April 1995. Divock’s cousin Arnold plays professionally in Norway so he has definitely been brought up in an environment where football has been a major factor. Origi’s fledging career began as a youth in the city of Genk in Belgian Limburg but he moved to Lille just across the Franco-Belgian border soon after his fifteenth birthday. He had to be content with reserve-team football initially but showed enough promise to be named in the first-team squad for a French Cup-tie in January 2013 three months before his eighteenth birthday. His senior debut came only nine days later when he scored in a 1-1 draw with Troyes in front of a crowd of over 36,000. Nine more Ligue 1 appearances followed before the end of the season but no more goals. That changed in 2013/14 when he played in 30 of Lille’s 38 league matches, scoring five times and helping his club to third place behind Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco to reach the third qualifying round of the 2014/15 Champions League.