Manchester United striker Zidane Iqbal is leaving Old Trafford to join Dutch side FC Utrecht | Football news

Zidane Iqbal completes his move from Manchester United to Dutch FC Utrecht; Iqbal, 20, spent more than a decade at Man Utd and was on the bench seven times in the Premier League last term; Iqbal is the first British South Asian to play for Man Utd

By Dev Trehan, @DevTrehan

17:34, UK, Monday 26 June 2023

Manchester United’s breakthrough Zidane Iqbal has completed his move to FC Utrecht.

Academy graduate Iqbal, 20, has joined the Dutch outfit after they agreed terms with Man Utd over the switch last week.

Iqbal made history in December 2021 when he appeared in the Champions League clash with Young Boys to become the first British South Asian to play for Manchester United. He is also believed to be the first player of Iraqi heritage to appear for United.

The Mancunian appeared on United’s Premier League bench on seven occasions last season after impressing during their pre-season tour as well as their trip to Dubai during the mid-season break.

Iqbal, whose mother is Iraqi and father Pakistani, spent more than a decade at United, starting in one of the club’s development teams before playing at all age groups and going on to represent the first team in the Champions League.

Zidane Iqbal paid tribute to his friends, family and coaches on social media after becoming the first ever British South Asian to play for Manchester United.

The midfielder, who penned a new United contract last season, was never capped for England at youth level, with Sky Sports exclusively revealed early last year that Iqbal was set to be restricted by Iraq.

Iqbal is now a full Iraqi international but was unable to play for Pakistan at the time due to a FIFA ban for third party interference, although their international status has now been reinstated.

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Iqbal: I will always love Manchester United

In an emotional farewell to Manchester United, Iqbal wrote:

“Manchester United has been my home since I was five years old. Together with my family, this club has developed me into the person I am today.

“From Cliff to Carrington and then to the Theater Of Dreams (Old Trafford) I have so many incredible memories from my 15 years at this amazing club.

“I’ve had the opportunity to play with so many teammates that I now always want to call friends, and I’ve worked with coaches who always supported me in so many different ways.

“There are too many people to thank. Kitmen, physios, teachers, chefs, nutritionists, security staff, coaches and everyone in between, they have all played their part in making me the player I am today. You know who they are. are and know how much they mean to me and my family. we will be eternally grateful.

Manchester United youngster Zidane Iqbal was destined to achieve great things in the game, says his first football coach Stewart Hamer.

“The Academy is a special place that makes dreams come true for so many. That was certainly the case for me. I will never forget standing on the sidelines at the Theater Of Dreams (OT) waiting to go on to my debut. That feeling of pride will live with me forever.

“Representing Manchester United in Europe is one of the biggest honors you can get in your career. People don’t realize the amount of work and dedication that goes into achieving a debut and living your dream.

Manchester United’s Zidane Iqbal said he is proud of his diverse heritage and upbringing ahead of his international debut for Iraq away to Iran (courtesy MUTV)

“The fans were amazing with me that day. You have always given such love and support to myself and my family. Believe me, it did not go unnoticed or unappreciated. I will always be a United fan and I will always love this football club.

“The time has come to go and take on a new challenge. It’s one I can’t wait for and I will apply myself with the same level of desire, determination and dedication that has brought me this far in my career.”

‘Iqbal leaves Man Utd a hero’

Sky Sports News’ developer Trehan:

He only made one substitute appearance, but make no mistake, Zidane Iqbal leaves Manchester United a hero.

The reaction when Sky Sports news broke the story of Iqbal making history as the first ever British footballer of South Asian background to represent Manchester United – and the outpouring of emotion that came with it – was something truly epic.

Iqbal broke a glass ceiling for South Asians and Iraqis alike, realizing the dreams of millions around the world as well as his own when he made his United debut.

The midfielder’s association with United goes back well over a decade. He has spent most of his life as part of the club and today it ends on what looks like his premises.

Iqbal could have taken the soft option and enjoyed the prestige of remaining a Manchester United player. He has trained with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Casemiro in recent years and was edging closer to making his Premier League debut for the club.

But Iqbal has given up on that option and opted to move to Utrecht – who United boss Erik ten Hag previously played for and managed – and has become the latest player to seek a move to the continent in a bid to kick-start his career.

That bravery is something that should be applauded. Iqbal has played for United and has nothing to prove to anyone but himself. He should get some of those answers in the Dutch Eredivisie next season.

Follow the summer transfer window with Sky Sports

Who will be on the move this summer when the transfer window opens on June 14 and closes at 11pm on September 1st in England and midnight in Scotland?

Keep up to date with all the latest transfer news and rumors in our dedicated Transfer Center blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms. You can also catch up on ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports news.

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