Easah Suliman: Ex-Aston Villa player and England youth captain makes Pakistan debut in game against Kenya | Soccer News

Former England youth captain Easah Suliman has made his senior international debut for Pakistan.

The Aston Villa academy graduate featured in Pakistan’s game against Kenya in Mauritius, three days after Grimsby Town midfielder and fellow British-Pakistani Otis Khan made his international debuts for the Shaheens.

Suliman is also fondly remembered at Grimsby after joining the club on loan earlier in his career, around six months after scoring the opening goal in the final to help England win the European U19 Championship in 2017.

The defender, who was just named in South Asian football’s first team of the season, now plays for Vitoria Guimaraes in the Portuguese top division, spending last season on loan at UD Vilanfranquense where he has started the last team of the club. 14 games.

Suliman rose through the ranks at Villa and turned professional at the club on his 17th birthday, before taking up loan spells at Cheltenham Town and Dutch side Emmen, either side of joining Grimsby.

The centre-back made his Villa debut under former manager Steve Bruce in a League Cup draw against Wigan before eventually moving to Portuguese top-flight side Vitoria for an undisclosed fee in 2020 .

‘Things dreams are made of’

Aston Villa Villans Together supporters group co-founder Nilesh Chauhan said Sky Sports News: “Easah was hugely loved by everyone at Aston Villa – a brilliant role model and ambassador for the club and someone who was always very generous with his time.

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“It’s great to see him still progressing and having opportunities. After captaining England’s juniors and winning a trophy, going on and playing for Pakistan is really what dreams are made of.

“But Easah never stopped. He earned the chance to play on the international stage and to see that is so valuable to any young South Asian who has aspirations and is looking to get into the game.

“We are very proud to have innovated by creating our own fan group in northern Pakistan a few years ago, where children are introduced to the Beautiful Game the way of Aston Villa.

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Swindon Town have opened an academy in Karachi in a bid to try to support football in Pakistan and unearth a potential South Asian superstar.

“This news will have a huge impact for them, as it will for British South Asians in football.”

Suliman has gained international recognition at youth level across all age groups with England, most recently featuring for the nation at U20 level.

Easah Suliman of England at Heathrow Airport, London.
Suliman arrives at London Heathrow with the U19 Euros trophy

The defender is the first British-Pakistani to manage an England team and played every minute of England’s U17 World Cup campaign in Chile 2015.

Two years later, Suliman helped England become European U19 champions, scoring a header in a 2-1 win over Portugal in the final.

Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale and Tottenham’s Ryan Sessegnon were also part of that England U19 squad, with Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount – who has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United this summer – named player of the tournament.

Pakistan return to South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) league action later this month after missing the 2021 tournament due to a FIFA suspension for third-party interference.

The country’s women’s team returned to the international stage at last year’s SAFF Women’s Championship in Nepal.

Doncaster Rovers Belles striker Nadia Khan, who Sky Sports News revealed she received international clearance just in time to travel to Kathmandu for the tournament, made history in Pakistan’s final group game against Mauritius, becoming the first woman to score four goals in an international match for the nation.

British South Asians in football

For more stories, features and videos, visit our groundbreaking South Asians in Football page on skysports.com and the South Asians in the Game blog and stay tuned to Sky Sports News And our Sky Sports digital platforms.

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