Position: Centre Back
Date of Birth: May 30th 1989
Place of Birth: Pamplona, Spain
Previous Club(s): Athletic Bilbao
The Spanish invasion at Liverpool continued in the summer of 2007 when accomplished defender Mikel San Jose Dominguez upped sticks from Bilbao and headed to Anfield, signing a three year deal for appropriate compensation. Able to play in an anchor role in midfield too, San Jose is one of the more successful of the young acquisitions made under Rafael Benitez’s reign, pushing the fringes of the first team squad.
He slotted right into Gary Ablett’s Reserve squad and featured heavily as the Reds won the Premier Reserve League. Towards the end of his first season, with Liverpool’s Champions League Semi Final plans struggling with a lack of fit defenders, Mikel found himself named as a substitute for the match at Stamford Bridge. He didn’t get on, but to be considered as the Reserve team’s most talented defender will have drawn much encouragement from the young Basque.
His reputation preceded him in arriving in England, as a winner of the European Under-19 Championships, and he has lived up to billing as a modern defender who is very comfortable on the ball. He has the physical tools to deal with stronger, more powerful forwards, and the quick thinking and agility to keep the smaller, trickier ones at bay. With the future of many a Liverpool centre-back not exactly certain, he can make inroads to the next level in the near future.
Liverpool’s struggles in the Reserves in 08/09 haven’t helped San Jose’s stock but he’s nonetheless still an integral part of the team and continues to develop under the radar to push for a first-team squad place. A loan move was discussed, but top brass at Liverpool decided it was more beneficial to keep the player at their Melwood training facility.