Haksabanovic: FA Cup tie is a big opportunity to impress

Sead Haksabanovic


Sead Haksabanovic is determined to take the opportunity to show David Moyes what he can do in Sunday’s Emirates FA Cup third-round tie at Shrewsbury Town.

The exciting Montenegro international attacking midfielder is set to be given a chance to impress at the New Meadow, alongside a number of West Ham United’s other promising young professionals.

Declan Rice, Domingos Quina and Toni Martinez could also be part of the squad which travels to Shropshire, and 18-year-old Haksabanovic says they are all eager to prove their worth to manager Moyes, should they be given the chance to play against the League One high-fliers.

“Hopefully I will play and I’m really excited about the prospect of showing what I can do, as it’s a big game for me and a big game for the Club,” said the No23, whose only previous first-team appearance was a Carabao Cup third-round start against Bolton Wanderers back in September.

“I played my first game against Bolton and I was a bit nervous, but I think I did quite well, so it would be good to get another opportunity. It will be important for me to show the manager what I can, because I want to play. And if I want to play, I need to take that opportunity.”

It will be important for me to show the manager what I can, because I want to play

Sead Haksabanovic

Growing up in Sweden, Haksabanovic made his senior debut for first club Halmstads BK in a Swedish Cup tie at Vasteras in February 2015, aged just 15 years and nine months.

He was also an avid watcher of English football, including the world’s most-famous knockout competition, and is excited about the prospect of making his bow in the FA Cup this weekend.

“When I was in Sweden, I always watched games from the FA Cup, as well as the Premier League, so I know quite a lot about it.

“The biggest thing I can remember are the finals are played at Wembley, so I’d love to play there. I am too young to remember when Freddie Ljungberg, who also came from my old club Halmstads, and scored a brilliant goal for Arsenal in the final in 2002!”


Sead Haksabanovic says Marko Arnautovic has helped him settle in England


Aside from his Bolton appearance, Haksabanovic has been named in four Premier League squads, started four times in the Checkatrade Trophy and caught the eye in five appearances in Premier League 2 Division 1 this season.

Training with the first-team squad on a daily basis, including his mentor Marko Arnautovic, the teenager has enjoyed being part of things under Moyes and his coaching staff and believes the Hammers’ recent upturn in form will continue.

“The players have been doing well and the team has been performing well and collecting points. We have improved a lot and we are showing that we can do more and win games. We have a good squad and should be higher in the table, but I think that will come with time.

“Marko is helping me a lot, of course. It’s good to have him here, as he’s helped me a lot, not only with my game but also with a lot of things outside of football. It has made it much easier to settle in England, for sure.”