17-year-old Yan Dhanda recently signed his first professional contract with 18-times English champions Liverpool. Born 14th December, 1998 in Birmingham, England, Dhanda, with this 2-and-a-half year contract, became the first player of Indian heritage to sign with the English giants.
Having gone from strength to strength, the professional contract was just a matter of time and Liverpool will be glad to have sealed the future of one of the biggest talents in football on a long-term contract.
He has even trained with the first team on a few occasions earlier under former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers. New Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is known to give youth players a chance and with the talent this youngster possesses, we are sure the German will be keeping a close eye on Dhanda.
Here are 10 things you need to know about the Liverpool youngster breaking all barriers:
1. Yan Dhanda is the first Indian player of Indian heritage to sign a professional contract with Liverpool. He signed for the Liverpool academy from West Brom aged just 14 in July, 2013 for a deal reported to be worth £200,000.
2. As a kid, he never supported any club. “I didn't support anybody because my dad never supported anybody,” the Liverpool youngster revealed earlier.
3. Liverpool’s rivals Chelsea were the ones to spot this British-Indian’s talent when he won the ‘Search for the next Asian Star’ competition hosted by the club from London. West Brom, however, snapped him up after being impressed by the youngster’s talents. Guess, Liverpool owe Chelsea a thank you.
4. He is the second British Asian to sign a professional deal in the English top flight. The first was Swansea City left-back Neil Taylor.
5. Dhanda has represented England in the U16 and U17 level. He was at Walsall, Aston Villa, Birmingham and West Brom before joining the 5-times European Champions.
6. He plays in the No. 10 role, just behind the striker. However, he is equally adept at playing on the left or right flanks.
?7. He went to the same school as former Liverpool star Raheem Sterling and Liverpool’s youngest player ever, Jerome Sinclair. He is surely in good company there.
8. In 2013, he was presented with the 'Up and Coming Asian Player of the Year' award at the Asian Football Awards held at the Wembley Stadium.
9. His favourite player is Philippe Coutinho, while he wants to follow in the footsteps of legends Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher by breaking through the Liverpool youth system.
“I really admire Steven Gerrard for all he's done in the game and coming through the ranks. He started where I am now,” Dhanda said. Jamie Carragher has gone now but he did it the same way. I really respect that.”
He also revealed he wants to represent the Reds before turning 20. He still has 3 years to achieve his dream.
10. Former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was one of the biggest reasons Dhanda signed for Liverpool. Upon joining the Reds, he said, “I was so excited and the fact that Brendan Rodgers was manager made me even more excited. It made me want to join Liverpool more than ever because of the way he has faith in young players.
“My dad was interested in Brendan Rodgers and the players he brings through. My dad really liked the coaches at Liverpool because they all worked together. My mum was more interested in whether I was going to be happy at school and with my house parents, and if I would like it at Liverpool.”
He has a mean free kick in him, which has earned him comparisions with Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo.
Here’s a clip of him scoring the equaliser for Liverpool U18s from a free kick against Manchester City U18s. Watch and admire:
Here’s another of his free-kicks:
He is also on Twitter. You can follow him here: @YanDhanda.