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Top four Indian-origin footballers to have played in England

Published at :November 10, 2021 at 9:22 PM
Modified at :November 10, 2021 at 9:22 PM
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These players were often subject to rumours regarding their inclusion in the Indian football team.

While many fans are familiar with Sportsadda and Indian Cricket League betting, not many people are perhaps aware of just how popular football is in the country too. The Indian nation has long been known as one of the cricketing greats and placing bets on the sport has been a popular pastime for just as long. While cricket as a sport, and as a betting market, has only grown in popularity, what of football in the country?

There was a time when India saw football being on the rise. There was the potential for the country to show the world the fact that it was going to be a team to be reckoned with. As a country with such a large population, there was potential talent everywhere. All this talent needed was nurturing. This is where things started to go wrong.

The Indian love affair with football seemed to slide away. Suddenly there was no infrastructure in place. The grassroots game suffered and deleted the country of up and coming talent and the facilities available made the professional game tough. While India still has a thriving football league of its own, there are some players who have made the move and played in the top leagues around the world. Here’s a look at who they were.

Michael Chopra

Not strictly Indian himself, Chopra was the first player of Indian descent to play in the English Premier League. Chopra rose through the ranks at Newcastle as part of their youth team. After a frustrating 6 years where he couldn’t make it into the first team, he spent his time seemingly on a tour of clubs during various loan periods. This saw him playing at clubs such as Nottingham Forest, Watford, and Barnsley.

It was 2006 that saw Chopra breakthrough when he joined Cardiff City for the sum of £500,000. It was his outstanding performance during the 06/07 season that saw him move across to Sunderland and become the first player of Indian decedent to play in the premier league. 

Yan Dhanda

In 2015 Dhanda became the first Indian player to sign a professional contract with Liverpool. Liverpool has been in first flight football for as long as we can all remember and so this was a tremendous achievement for a young Dhanda. The problem he faced was that he could not realise his true dreams by making the first team. He had to be satisfied with playing for the U18s and U23 teams. 

His frustrations saw him making a move across to Swansea where he could enjoy first-team football. The 2018/2019 season saw him scoring on his debut and going on to score a further three times. Although Swansea is a Championship side, Dhanda’s break came in the Premier League even if he couldn’t quite make it big. 

Luciano Narsingh

Top-flight football isn’t all about the English Premier League. Narsingh saw his football career hit great heights while enjoying a career in the Netherlands. He even made the Dutch international side after successes at SC Heerenveen and PSV Eindhoven. Whilst at PSV, Narsingh was rated as one of the top footballing talents in the world, but an injury in 2013 slowed down the progress that his career seemed to be making.

This player did make appearances in the English Premier League during a brief spell with Swansea in 2017. 2019 saw him moving back to the Netherlands where he signed for Feyenoord in the Eredivisie. 

Danny Batth

Of Indian origin, Batth’s English football career started at the age of just 15 when he joined the academy at Wolverhampton Wanderers. Although he is currently a defender for Stoke City, Batth enjoyed time in the Premier League facing giants such as Liverpool, West Ham, and Manchester City.

Related: ‘Punjabi Wolves’ Danny Batth taking gigantic strides in English football

Batth gained a wealth of footballing experience partly as he fell out of favour with the Wolves boss. This saw him being on loan to clubs such as Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday, and Middlesborough. Although Batth’s stint in the premier league was short lived, he was one of the most promising players of Indian origin having being awarded the young player of the year award.