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Top 5 current footballers of Indian origin

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Amoy Ghoshal

Sportskeeda lists the top five current Indian-origin footballers from around the globe.

Furdjel Narsingh (PEC Zwolle)

Born in Amsterdam, Furdjel is the elder brother of current Dutch international Luciano Narsingh. The Narsingh brothers are of Indian origin – their grandparents were immigrant workers from Andhra Pradhesh – and Surinamese descent with both spending their youth careers at Zeeburgia, AZ and Ajax. Furdjel, who is three years older than Luciano, then signed a professional contract with AZ but was loaned out to second tier outfit FC Volendam. The five feet nine inches tall winger spent one entire season at Volendam and the following campaign was loaned out to another second tier team Telstar, where he spent two years.

The 25-year-old then joined PEC Zwolle in 2011 and helped them gain promotion to the Dutch top flight, the Eredivisie. He scored five times in 17 league appearances and also set up many more goals to help Zwolle win the second tier title. Much like his younger brother, Furdjel is blessed with immense pace but still isn’t the finished product yet and that was evident in the 2012-13 Dutch Eredivisie season as he only made 13 league appearances for Zwolle, who finished 11th in the 18-team league.

Michael Chopra (Ipswich Town)

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Born in Newcastle, Chopra was the first Indian-origin footballer to play in the English Premier League, making his senior league debut for the Magpies ten years ago. The 29-year-old striker had struggled to become a regular at Newcastle United but still managed to get the distinction of scoring the fastest goal after coming on as a substitute in the EPL. The former English youth international also had a spell for Newcastle’s bitter rivals Sunderland and back in 2010 held talks with the AIFF about the possibility of representing India at international level.

But with Indian laws not permitting dual citizenship, Chopra is unlikely to ever play for India. He has been playing in the second tier of English football for the last five years, also being in the PFA Championship team of the season in 2009-10 while playing for Cardiff City. He has been at Ipswich Town since 2011, being one of their top scorers in his first season there but he wasn’t much prolific in the 2012-13 campaign and was also handed a 10-year ban from racing by the British Horseracing Authority last year after being charged with suspicious betting activity.

Harmeet Singh (Feyenoord)

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Harmeet was born in Oslo but his parents hail from Ludhiana, Punjab and had moved to the Norwegian capital in their twenties. Despite being born in Norway, Harmeet had recently confessed that he had a Punjabi childhood and that he stills visits the Gurudwara when he is in his country of birth. The central midfielder started his football education at five-time Norwegian champions Valerenga and made his senior debut for them at the age of 17. The 22-year-old spent five seasons with Valerenga, winning the Norwegian Cup in 2008.

The highlight of his time at Valerenga undoubtedly came in 2010 when he impressed in a friendly against Barcelona. He scored in that game and earned praise from Pep Guardiola. Soon various sections of the media hailed him as the Norwegian Iniesta and in 2012, Harmeet earned a big money move to Dutch giants Feyenoord. Harmeet has represented Norway at various age groups levels between U-15 and U-21 and made his senior debut for the Scandinavian nation in January 2012. Harmeet played a key role in Norway’s qualification to the 2013 U-21 European Championships and recently scored a fine injury-time equaliser against hosts Israel in the opening match of the tournament.

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Neil Taylor (Swansea City)

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Taylor’s mother hails from Kolkata and he has some relatives still living in the capital of Bengal and in the national capital, New Delhi. But the Swansea left back recently revealed that he hasn’t visited India since becoming a professional at the age of 16. Born in Wales, Taylor’s youth career started at Manchester City but his first professional contract was with Welsh club Wrexham. After spending three years there, Taylor completed the move to Swansea in 2010, when they were still playing in the second tier, the Championship.

The 24-year-old played a key role in Swansea’s promotion to the English Premier League and then resisted offers from several EPL clubs, to remain with the Swans and helped them finish 11th in their debut EPL campaign. Having played for almost every age group team of Wales, Taylor represented them at the senior international level in 2010 and also went on to represent Great Britain at the 2012 London Olympics, being one of five Welsh players besides Ryan Giggs, Joe Allen, Craig Bellamy and Aaron Ramsey. He unfortunately suffered an ankle injury at the start of the 2012-13 season, which kept him out for almost the entire campaign.

Luciano Narsingh (PSV)

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Like his brother Furdjel, Luciano was also born in Amsterdam but was considered too light to continue further at Ajax. He joined Heerenveen as a 16-year-old and signed a professional contract with them two years later. The 2010-11 campaign proved to be breakthrough season of Luciano, who is quick and capable of playing in either flank, as he made 24 league appearances, scoring five times. The following season, he started in each of Heerenveen’s 34 Eredivisie matches, finding the back of the net eight times.

Luciano’s reputation was clearly enhanced and thus he was signed by giants PSV in the summer of 2012. The pressure of playing in a big club brought the best out of Luciano as he managed a healthy return of six goals in 18 league appearances in his first season at PSV. After representing the Dutch youth teams for a few years, he was finally called up to the senior setup in the summer of 2012, just ahead of the Euros. He was part of Bert van Marwijk’s final squad at the European Championship but didn’t feature in any match. Luciano has found a place in the Dutch national team even under Louis Van Gaal and recently scored his first competitive international goal against Turkey in a World Cup qualifier.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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