Winger Alex Kacaniklic was signed by Liverpool from Swedish side Helsingborgs for £75,000 in the summer of 2007. Before signing, he was a promising 16 year old in the Swedish team’s youth ranks and Liverpool’s Academy staff decided to take on the young winger on a 12 day trial. The then Academy manager John Owens was very impressed with Kacaniklic’s abilities:
“Alex is a clever, close dribbler whose delivery of the ball into the box is very good.”
As you can tell by his name, Kacaniklic descends from Serbian ancestry but he was born in Sweden and has played for Sweden’s Under 16s. After being purchased by Liverpool, the youngster was put straight into the Academy side at Kirkby on the left wing. Initially, during the 2007/08 season, he was competing for the left wing spot with Gary McKay-Steven but once McKay-Steven was moved to left back, Kacaniklic was given a good run starting in his favoured position for the Under 18s. For the rest of the season, he worked in partnership with McKay-Steven on the left hand side, threatening opposition defences with his trickery and crossing ability.
The subsequent campaign, the 2008/09 season, turned out to be a very successful one for Kacaniklic and the Academy side. Along with David Amoo, Tom Ince, Lauri Dalla Valle and Nathan Eccleston, he was part of a potent attacking threat which was instrumental in getting the Under 18s to their third FA Youth Cup final in four years. Kacaniklic played a critical role on the left hand side of midfield. He is a naturally gifted footballer and has pace with abundance. He combines his speed with excellent ball control, and close dribbling skills, allowing him to trick and outwit opposition full backs. He also has a great left foot and his delivery into the box is very good, giving him an all round winger’s game. Furthermore, he can be useful on the right too, cutting in from the wing to unleash some rasping drives and he is well capable of scoring some exceptional goals. This goal against Arsenal in the second leg of the FA Youth Cup Final in 2009 is one such example:
Although the Reds were well beaten over two legs by Arsenal, some of the players that took part in the great cup run tremendously impressed the coaching staff, and Kacaniklic, along with David Amoo, Lauri Dalla Valle and Nathan Eccleston were all promoted to John McMahon’s reserve side for this season. The promotion to Melwood after only 2 short years in the Academy for the Swedish born winger demonstrates both his abilities and the faith placed in him by the Reds staff. He hasn’t disappointed this season either as he has looked to establish himself on the left side of the reserves’ midfield. Just last week, on the reserves’ tour of Europe, Kacaniklic scored one of the goals in the Reds 3-1 victory over Belgian top division side Racing Genk. Certainly another Reds player with the potential to succeed at a high level.
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