Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Oakley Cannonier: The life of the ball boy who helped Liverpool beat Barcelona

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Football fans remember the corner kick that gave Liverpool a 4-0 lead against Barcelona in the 2018/19 Champions League semi-final. It was one of the sports highlights of the last few years.

After the first game on home soil, the Catalans led 3-0 with a huge margin. It seemed that Jurgen Klopp’s side had no chance of progressing further. Analysts at the best bookmakers, including Sportpesa, offered odds of 11.5 (approximately 9% probability) on Liverpool’s participation in the final. However, the English side pulled off a miracle at Anfield, surpassing all the experts’ expectations and delighting their fans.

The fans remember Trent Alexander-Arnold’s sudden cross and Divock Origi’s goal, as well as the ball, which was surprisingly timely thrown to Trent. Almost three years after those events, we will tell you what the hero of that match, Oakley Cannonier, is doing now and what plans he has for the future.

Cannonier turned 15 shortly before the Anfield match. According to British media reports, ahead of the game against Barcelona, Carl Lancaster, who is one of Liverpool’s academy coaches and the team’s goalscorer, has tasked his boys to give the ball to the Merseysiders as quickly as possible on penalties. The thing is that the English club’s analysts have conducted a study of the Catalans’ matches and noticed that they often switch off after the referee’s whistle and begin to argue actively, even if there are no controversial moments.

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Oakley carried out Lancaster’s task and, thanks to that, became one of the main heroes in that incredible comeback. He had already played in Liverpool’s youth teams for several years at the time, having joined at the age of 11 from Leeds United’s academy.

Cannonier resurfaced in the summer of 2021 when the Reds announced that the youngster had signed a professional deal with the team and will now play in the U18 squad. Oakley is having a fantastic first season.

Now the young striker has scored 32 goals in all competitions. He even recorded two hat-tricks, with one of them being scored against Manchester United. Of course, such impressive results could not go unnoticed by the England U17 national team coaching staff, so Oakley has already had time to play for the national team.

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Coach Mark Bridge-Wilkinson, Merseyside’s youth team coach, was not surprised by his trainee’s success: “I’ve been working with him since he was 14 and he’s always done well,” said the specialist.

Oakley Cannonier: The life of the ball boy who helped Liverpool beat Barcelona

Oakley himself was recently asked what he thought of the assist on Trent.

The youngster said it was crazy. However, looking at Trent’s progress, Cannonier is also thinking about his future: he would like to achieve the same. The 17-year-old footballer says he doesn’t want to just be a legendary ball boy.

Here is another story about the young player’s ambition. Last year, the boys from Liverpool’s academy were asked to fill in a questionnaire. Among other questions, they had to answer how they saw their career in the future. Oakley surprised everyone by writing that he would win five Golden Balls.

It seems that Liverpool fans won’t have to wait long for Cannonier to take the field as part of the main team and start paving the way for his dreams.

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Rahul Roy
Rahul Roy
I am a computer guy by profession and a sports fanatic by choice.

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