This article is part of Football FanCast’s Loan Watch series, which takes a closer look at those players who are aiming to galvanise their careers away from the spotlight of their parent club.
West Ham United winger Sead Haksabanovic struggled on loan at Malaga last season, getting just 54 minutes from 2 appearances in a possible 21 games.
However, he has been turning things around in Sweden, representing Norrkoping, getting 6 goals and 7 assists in 19 Allsvenskan starts and 10 substitute appearances.
This will certainly be a boost for the 20-year-old, but if he is to make it at London Stadium he must show that he can perform against opposition of the highest level.
An opportunity to do just that presented itself on Thursday, as he turned out for Montenegro against England at Wembley, albeit in a match that gave him very few chances to show his quality, as the away side went on to lose 7-0.
Despite that, during the 74 minutes he was on the pitch, before limping off, the confidence from his Allsvenskan exploits was certainly translating onto the big stage.
Coming directly up against Premier League table-topper Trent Alexander-Arnold, he showed trust in his own ability to front up the Liverpool man and run at him.
The Montenegrin produced a few moments of quality, such as his dummy to open up space for a teammate, though he looked especially strong from dead ball situations – one delivery from a free-kick almost resulted in a goal.
Haksabanovic provided further signs of his passing ability during the game, completing 2 key passes and 3 of his 4 attempted crosses.
Though he did fluff his lines for what was arguably Montenegro’s biggest chance of the night, as his half-volley on the rebound dribbled harmlessly wide of Jordan Pickford’s goal.
Aside from that, the only real criticism that can be posed against the 20-year-old would be that he was often eased off the ball a bit too easily, as signified by the fact he won just 3 of his 8 duels during the game – that leaves more of a question surrounding his physicality, rather than the technical ability he possesses.
Overall, considering the circumstances, Haksabanovic gave a good account of himself and showed that there is potential for his Allsvenskan form to be translated at a higher level, though he definitely has things to work on if he is to make it in the Premier League.