By Scott Taylor
Alex O’Hanlon is the latest Academy player to be profiled in the ‘Who Is’ series on TheNextGenKopites. O’Hanlon, 18, is a left sided midfielder that has been known to play at left-back when required. He is also a Republic of Ireland youth international, representing his country at Under-19 level. For the 2014/15 season, O’Hanlon has spent most of it with Michael Beale’s Under-21s playing in a central midfield role.
O’Hanlon joined the Reds from St Kevin’s Boys Club in his native Dublin in May 2011. In his debut season for the club, O’Hanlon enjoyed some playing time in the Under-16s before being promoted to the Under-18s in the 2012-13 season. At the end of the season, O’Hanlon was rewarded with his first professional contract with the club. He followed that with another strong season is 2013-14. In his 28 games featuring for then Steve Cooper’s side, he found the net on seven occasions.
More recently, the Irishman has settled into life with the Under-21s. He has played seven games so far this season and even though he hasn’t scored or assisted any goal, he has looked lively. One concerning point for the midfielder is that he has only completed the full 90 minutes just once, a 1-0 win at home to Sunderland on 16 February. He is currently on the treatment table, after going off with a knock in the Reds’ 2-1 derby win against Everton three weeks ago.
Like any young player, O’Hanlon has featured for Neil Critchley’s Under-19s in their UEFA Youth League campaign. Here he found more success. In the five games he played, he scored and assisted one, both in Liverpool’s 4-0 win at home to minnows Ludogorets on 16 September. Even though he has also only played 90 minutes just once, O’Hanlon racked up just two minutes less game time in the UEFA Youth League, despite playing two games less than the Premier League.
It is not just at his club where he impresses, O’Hanlon has plenty of International experience. After playing five games for the Republic of Ireland Under-17s, where he claimed one assist, he made his debut for the Under-19s. At 16 years, 11 months and 16 days old, he was faced with playing with people up to three years older than him. He has remained with Paul Doolin’s side ever since. In his debut, he created both goals in their 2-0 win at home to Slovenia Under-19s in September 2013. His first and only goal for his country came in the next match, where he netted in the Republic’s 2-0 win at Azerbaijan in October 2013. Overall he has played eight international friendlies, scoring once and assisted four goals. He has featured in three games for the UEFA Under-19 Championship Qualifiers. In those three games, he assisted once, a goal in Ireland’s 2-1 win at home to Iceland in May 2014.
With more game time in the Under-21s and if he adds more goals to his game, can we see Alex O’Hanlon follow in the footsteps of Steve Staunton and Steve Finnan to be a Republic of Ireland representative for the men in Red?