The illustrious list has previously featured the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Christian Pulisic and Martin Ødegaard and in the earlier years.
Minerva Football Academy and Punjab FC starlet Bikash Yumnam has become the first-ever Indian footballer to feature in The Guardian’s ‘Next Generation’ top-60 list this year. This is the first time that an Indian has featured in the illustrious list updated by The Guardian every year since they started doing it in 2014.
Some of the other names in The Guardian’s list this year are Yusuf Demir (Rapid Vienna), Rayan Cherki (Lyon), Edouard Michut, Xavi Simons (Paris Saint-Germain), Ilaix Moriba (Barcelona), Marcelo Flores (Arsenal) and Israel Salazar (Real Madrid). Barca’s Ansu Fati (2019), Real Madrid’s Rodrygo and Takefusa Kubo (2018) and Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood (2018) are some of the famous names that have featured in the same list in the previous years.
A central defender by the trade, Bikash Yumnam started his footballing career with Minerva Football Academy and gave a good impression in the youth level itself. He was one of the stars in the Indian football team that played in the 2018 U-16 Asian Championships, where the side conceded no goals in the group stage against Vietnam, Iran and Indonesia enroute to the quarter-finals.
Currently with Punjab FC, Bikash Yumnam was sent to Indian Arrows on a loan move last season, where he made nine appearances in the I-League. He also featured as a defensive midfielder in their 1-0 win against East Bengal on February 1. At the end of his loan contract with Arrows in May, he returned to Punjab FC and has since chosen to remain with them, having turned down offers from a few other I-League clubs and two ISL sides, according to sources.
The defender is well known for being extremely composed on the ball and for his game-reading abilities, while one of the many other traits that set him apart is his excellent, fast and long throw-ins.
Meanwhile, Punjab FC are all set to take part in the upcoming 2020-21 I-League which is slated to begin later this year.