SWANSEA’s Yan Dhanda has said that Leicester midfielder Hamza Choudhury is a ‘class footballer’ and he is ‘proud of his roots’.
“The good thing that I love about Hamza is that he is proud of where he’s from,” Dhanda told Sky Sports News.
Dhanda and Choudhury are the highest-profile British South Asian footballers in the top two divisions of English football, alongside Aston Villa and Wales left-back Neil Taylor, and Stoke central defender Danny Batth.
Dhanda and Choudhury have played against each a number times on their journey through the youth ranks.
“He’s not hiding anything about who he is, and where he is from, and where his family are from. That’s the good thing because people should be proud of where they are from and do what they want to do. I’m friends with Hamza actually, so I am even happier for him. I’d be happy for him even if I wasn’t, but because we are friends I am so happy for him,” Dhanda told Sky Sports News.
“I’ve said it before, even when we were kids I used to hate playing against him because he was that good. You’d think you were past him and he comes out of nowhere and just takes the ball off you.”
Choudhury’s father is from Grenada in the Caribbean and mother hails from Bangladesh. At 23, he is 14 months older than Dhanda.
Choudhury became the first player of Bangladeshi origin to grace the Premier League when he came on in a home win for Leicester against Tottenham in November 2017. Taylor, Zesh Rehman, Michael Chopra and Jimmy Carter are the only other British South Asians known to have featured in the division before Leicester’s former U23 captain.
In the last six months, Choudhury’s goal against Newcastle last year shortlisted as one of the Premier League’s goals of 2020, and the Loughborough-born midfielder also marked his first European start with a goal in a 2-1 win at AEK Athens in October.
Aldershot assistant manager Anwar Uddin was the first player of Bangladeshi origin to play professionally in this country, and, during his time with Dagenham & Redbridge, became the first British South Asian captain of a Football League side.
With the latest research indicating there are more British South Asians on professional deals across England’s top four divisions than ever before, Uddin insists it is the most exciting time in football for the community that he can remember.
“Hamza and Yan continue to develop into both fantastic footballers and fantastic role models,” Uddin told Sky Sports News.
“Those two and the likes of Mal Benning, Otis Khan, Danny Batth, Neil Taylor, and others, are inspiring the next generation of young players from the South Asian community because they offer living, breathing proof that you can make it in the game, regardless of your background.”