18-year-old Zidane Iqbal has become the first British South Asian to become a part of Manchester United in the under 23 Squad. Zidane is a professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for the English Premier League club Manchester United.
Born in England, he is a youth international for Iraq. Born in Manchester to a Pakistani father and Iraqi mother, Iqbal played for local side Sale United before being scouted by Manchester United. Iqbal signed his first professional contract with Manchester United in April 2021.
He made his first-team debut for Manchester United on 8 December 2021 as an 89th-minute substitute in a Champions League match against Young Boys. Thus, he became the first British-born Asian to play for the club. As one of a small number of British Asians in association football, Iqbal was part of an FA content series to support South Asian Heritage Month.
When Asian Voice reached out to Zidane Iqbal for an interview, the Football Media Officer of Manchester United replied saying, “The Club is looking to protect Zidane at the moment just given his age and recent level of media exposure. The Academy want to protect him from the spotlight following his first-team debut.”
With bright young players like Iqbal, it will be interesting to see whether more Asian parents support the dream of their children to pursue a career in football in the future or not.