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