Manchester United’s Zidane Iqbal honoured to represent Iraq ahead of debut

Iqbal could make his international debut against Iran on Thursday

Pa Sport Staff
Wednesday 26 January 2022 20:03

Manchester United’s Zidane Iqbal has revealed his pride as he prepares to make his senior international debut.

The midfielder, of Pakistani and Iraqi heritage, is poised to make his Iraq bow on Thursday.

The 18-year-old flew to join the squad on Sunday and could make his debut when Iraq, the country of his mother’s birth, face Iran in a crucial World Cup qualifier at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran.

“It’s another milestone I’m going to hit, my first-team debut for Iraq. I’m looking forward to it and it’s a big game, so hopefully we can win,” he told

“Me choosing to play for Iraq doesn’t mean I’m not a proud Mancunian or a proud Pakistani. I just feel this is the right opportunity for me as a player, the right step in my career and an honour, but it definitely doesn’t take away the fact that I’m a Mancunian and a Pakistani as well.”

Iqbal became the first British South Asian to play for United as a late substitute against Young Boys in the Champions League in December.

“It was massive, but it’s not something I really focused on since I was young,” he said.

“I just enjoyed the sport and didn’t really think too much about that and as I got older, I realised that I was the first South Asian, so it’s a great thing but, ultimately, it’s just a lot of hard work that got me there.

“The support has been great. I’ve had so many messages that I can’t read through them all! But the ones I have read have been really good and positive and hopefully I can keep it up and just excel from here.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in