Alex Kacaniklic says that Martin Jol has given him – and the rest of the Fulham side such confidence – by offering young players a first-team chance so early in their careers.

The former Liverpool winger was thrown straight into the first team upon completion of a successful loan spell at Watford last night and his low, deflected shot grabbed a memorable win at Anfield – even if the goal was snatched away from the Swedish starlet by the dubious goals panel. Kacaniklic has been in action during every first team pre-season encounter and was rewarded with his first international cap as a substitute against Brazil in Stockholm on Wednesday evening.

After previous managers right the way back to Chris Coleman had placed a premium on experience, Kacaniklic saluted the way that Jol has been quick to make the leading members of the U21 squad feel at home.

I’ve been here for two years now, and the manager believes in me and to have a manager like that is just so positive. He gives young players a chance. He really takes care of them. He wants you to improve and encourages you to do what you’re good at. I’m really happy to have him as a manager.

We’ve got a lot of young players coming through here at Fulham – myself, Kerim [Frei], Pajtim [Kasami] Marcello [Trotta] and Matthew Briggs and he takes his time with all of us. He really works hard with us and has extra sessions and he talks to us and encourages us to play our game. He gives us belief that we can play. It means we’ve got a good mix of older players and younger players coming through and it looks like it’s going to be a good season.

Kacaniklic was delighted to get on the scoresheet against Norwich and, in truth, his smartly taken goal – resulting from a well-worked Motspur Park routine — was the least he deserved for an energetic performance on such a roasting hot afternoon by the Thames.

I found out I was starting yesterday. I was so happy. I couldn’t wait for the game. I just wanted it to be Saturday and get on the pitch and play. It was really good. I’ve been working hard to get in the starting eleven and then to get the first goal, especially at Craven Cottage, it’s really good

I was happy with the move here. It was up to me whether I wanted to leave Liverpool. Fulham really wanted me and I really wanted to come here and it was a really good move, certainly it looks like it.