Liverpool midfielder Yan Dhanda has made history, having signed his professional contract with the club.

The England youth international signed his contract alongside Liverpool academy director Alex Inglethorpe, becoming only the second British Asian to have joined a professional club, after Swansea’s Neil Taylor.

Yan Dhanda in action for LFC u18s
Yan Dhanda in action for LFC u18s

Born in Birmingham, the recently turned 17-year-old agreed a two-and-a-half-year deal with the Anfield club.

A highly promising talent, the attacking midfielder has consistently featured in the youth ranks following his transfer to the club from West Bromwich in 2013, impressing the Reds enough to be given a new contract.

The teenager has flourished at the club, raising staff hopes he can make an impact, having permitted him to train alongside the first team on a number of occasions in the past year.

Sharing his delight, Yan tweeted: “So happy to have signed my first professional contract with Liverpool. 

“Thank you everyone for the kind messages. The hard work never stops!!”


Making History

In speaking about signing British Asian player, Ian Ayre, Liverpool’s Managing Director, said: “We don’t take a player because he is Asian and we don’t not take a player because he is Asian.

“It’s about finding the best talent regardless of where they come from. You are only going to choose someone and put them in your squad if they can genuinely compete for a place in your first team.

“Yan has a fantastic opportunity at Liverpool. He is a very talented young man and we hope he will achieve the best he can do.”

A Turn In The Tide

With a three-million-strong South Asian community residing in the UK, it may be surprising to some that that same ethnic minority which makes up a sizeable chunk of British citizens – standing at 4.9 per cent of the country’s entire populace – suffers such underrepresentation in the Premier League, with fewer than ten professionals playing in the top four divisions of English football.

Though there may be no genuine contenders from the South Asian community to rival Swansea City left-back Neil Taylor at present, the future is much brighter than it seems. The South Asian youngsters playing in both Premier League academies and England’s age group teams have been making their mark, and there are encouraging signs for a positive professional future in football for the latest crop of young players.

Amongst these youngsters brimming with abundant potential are:

    • Neil Taylor, of Indian origin. A Swansea City left-back, he has played internationally for Wales
    • Michael Chopra, currently playing in the Scottish second tier for Alloa Athletic
    • Easah Suliman, the Aston Villa defender, became the first British Asian to captain any England side. The youngster, who is now plays for Villa’s under-21 despite not yet being 18, led the under-17s out for a match against the Faroe Islands in 2013.
    • Adil Nabi, a West Bromwich forward, is 21-years-old and recently participated in the Indian Super League, on loan to Delhi Dynamos with whom he scored three goals in the tournament.
    • Samir Nabi, the 19-year-old brother of Adil Nabi, is a midfielder for West Bromwich and plays for the under-21s.
    • Rahis Nabi, youngest of the Nabi trio, plays for West Bromwich’s under-18s side as a defensive play at the age of 16.

 His Journey So Far

 Aged 7:  Before finding his place amongst the Reds, Yan spent time with a number of West Midlands clubs, including Walsall, Aston Villa and Birmingham.

 Aged 9:  The youngster signed up for West Bromwich Academy on his 9th birthday. However, his time with the club was to be short-lived. Yan, having shown huge potential over the years, was snapped up by Liverpool. Much to the annoyance and frustration of Albion chairman Jeremy Peace, the rival club paid only £200,000 compensation for the young player’s transfer.

 Aged 14:  He joined the Liverpool FC Academy in July 2013 and has since played for England’s under-17s. Playing as an attacking midfielder under the management of Neil Critchley, the promising player has a keen eye for netting the ball and has scored goals at the majority of matches in 2015.

 Aged 17:  Since joining the Liverpool Academy, Yan has never failed to impress them. The youngster concluded an exceptional 2015 by signing his first professional contract with Liverpool in December, making history as the first player of Indian heritage to sign professionally for the club.

A Much Lauded Youngster

  • Won in the U11 category in Chelsea’s ‘Search for an Asian Star’ competition
  • Received the fitness award entitled ‘Player of the Tournament’
  • Awarded Up and Coming Player at the British Asian Football Awards 2013
  • Shortlisted for the Young Player Award at the Asian Football Awards 2015



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