Stefan Bajcetic could make Spain Under-21 debut at centre back

Liverpool youngster Stefan Bacjetic is set to make a long-awaited return to football, after a season-ending injury back in March.

The 18-year-old was a bright spark in an otherwise dismal season for Liverpool in 2022/23, breaking through from the academy to the first team to make 19 appearances in all competitions.

The former Celta Vigo starlet caught the eye with some impressive performances and scored his first senior goal in the 3-1 win over Aston Villa on Boxing Day 2022.

Bajcetic's form even saw him displace the under-performing Fabinho, before an abductor injury cut his campaign short.

The injury was severe enough that young midfielder also missed the entirety of Liverpool's pre-season and, while he has since returned to the Reds' matchday squads, he has yet play any minutes in 2023/24.

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However, Liverpool's number 43 is in line to return to action during the international break, having been called up to the Spain Under-21 squad for the first time.

Sant Denia's side are due to play Malta (Friday, 8 September) and Scotland (Monday, 11 September) as part of their Euros qualification campaign and the manager appreciates Bajcetic's versatility.

While much of the debate about Bajectic's best position at Liverpool has been whether he is more of a 'number six' or 'eight', Denia thinks he can even be used in defence.

“When he played in the lower ranks, he played as a centre back,” Denia told AS. “I think he can give us alternatives in that position.

“He can be like [Hugo] Guillamon in the previous generation, occupying various positions. I have spoken to him and he agrees with that role.”

When asked about managing Bajcetic's return from injury, Denia added: “I wanted him to be here so he could meet the group.

"He has a work plan that we previously knew about and which we are going to continue.

“He has signed up for Liverpool and although he hasn’t played, we’re looking forward to giving him minutes, even though playing there is very difficult.”

Recently, when discussing his own preferred position, Bajcetic joked that he would even play up front if asked.

He said: "Anyone can play in any position, but I know that if I do my job and I push as hard as I can, I will have more chances to play and maybe not just at six. I played left midfield a little bit last season and I just adapt to what the coach says.

"I'm happy to play anywhere. If the coach put me at striker I'd do it."

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