Zidane Iqbal has said he is determined to seize any chance Erik ten Hag gives him at Manchester United after impressing on the club’s pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia.
The 19-year-old, who featured in the second half of last week’s 4-0 victory over Liverpool and the 4-1 win against Melbourne Victory, believes this may be his only chance to make his mark and admits he would weigh up the “pros and cons” of a loan move for the 2022-23 season.
Iqbal, who has played twice for Iraq, made his debut as a late replacement in last December’s Champions League draw with Young Boys and, when asked about his desire and style of play, he said: “I have told myself: ‘This could be the only chance I get in the first team’.
“It has been part of my game since I was young, always wanting the ball. I just do what I do and whatever is meant to be will be. I will have no regrets. I will just try to do my best on the pitch and leave it up to God really. I would like to thank the fans for showing me all the love and support recently. It is an amazing feeling. Thank you.
“I have grown up loving this club. I have played here since I was eight or nine. To play in front of 90,000 people [in Bangkok]. It is something I dreamed of. To play against Victory and against Liverpool, even in the Champions League. It is hard to describe. [But] if an opportunity came up to go out on loan, I would weigh up the pros and cons. Right now it is too early to say. See what the future holds.”
Iqbal is enjoying the two-week trip. “There is definitely a good vibe around the team,” he said. “It is a new manager, early doors, but the ideas he has given us, two good results, everyone is happy in training. Everyone is giving 100% which is the best kind of atmosphere.”
Iqbal is not concerned about greater scrutiny owing to his heritage. “Obviously there are not many south Asians playing [he has a Pakistani father and an Iraqi mother] but if you are good enough, I believe you will make it no matter where you come from. I don’t pay too much attention to it. But, yes, there are a lot more people watching what I do because they can … not relate, but kind of [have an interest].
“I am just trying to take my journey on. Whatever is meant to be. I will always give 100% in training and matches. If I am inspiring people along the way, that is brilliant.”
Meanwhile, Luke Shaw believes that United have already improved under Ten Hag. “Especially in training, it’s definitely a big improvement,” the left-back said. “And even in the games, I think you could see things that probably you haven’t seen before, so I think there are things to look forward to.
“The manager knows what the team needs and he has his own style and how he wants to manage … all the players have really taken it on board and they’re really enjoying it. He is very hands-on and he takes a lot of the sessions. He’s involved a lot and if he sees people aren’t hitting the standards that he wants in training he’ll make sure they know. That’s good because he keeps the standards high.”
July 17, 2022 at 04:52PM Jamie Jackson in Melbourne