Manchester United midfielder Zidane Iqbal is one of the club’s brightest prospects and is one with the potential to become a prominent feature in the middle of the park for his club for many years to come.
Last year, Iqbal made history, becoming the first British South Asian to play for United, and the first British South Asian to play in the Champions League when he featured against Young Boys.
However, the youngster’s true emergence came during pre-season when he left fans wagging with his incredible press-resistant and calm displays in midfield. In a team full of global superstars and huge names, Iqbal shone brightest on tour.
Speaking to GQ, Iqbal spoke on his intentions to break through in a United shirt and which current players motivate him and that he is looking to emulate.
The 19-year-old told GQ, “When I was young my dad used to put a lot of YouTube videos of Zinedine Zidane on at home. Now, I look up to Frenkie de Jong, I think he’s a brilliant player. And Thiago from Liverpool.”
“I know he’s playing for Liverpool but you can still respect another person and how they play – he’s beautiful to watch.”
Frenkie de Jong is a player United were chasing all summer, but the transfer failed to occur. Iqbal would have had the chance to play alongside the Barca man, and still could if Erik ten Hag eventually persuades him to join.
The academy graduate was questioned on what keeps him grounded in his path to becoming a football star. He named his home and heritage as the two factors that keep him at bay above everything else.
He impressively reiterated that he was looking to use his talents and opportunity to inspire people like him and pave the way for more players of South Asian background to make it at the highest level.
In particular, he pinpointed his religion as an element that propels him to become better both on and off the pitch.
Iqbal heaped praise on his senior teammates who he said he learns from every day. Casemiro, Christian Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes earned plaudits from the player for their willingness to always help him.
He name-dropped Lisandro Martinez as the most intense player in training and one who fires him up by example.
“Licha takes every training session like it’s his last,” he said.
“I’m learning things like giving it 100 per cent every single day, with the right mentality and attitude.”
Hopefully, Iqbal lives up to his billing and gets his opportunity this season. He is extremely capable and as we witnessed during pre-season, is willing to grab any chance that comes his way with both hands.
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