England U19 and Aston Villa's Easah Suliman hopes to inspire Asian community
By Dev Trehan
Last Updated: 18/07/17 11:10am
England U19 hero Easah Suliman hopes his success allows other Asian youngsters to believe that they too can realise their football dreams.
The teenager played in all five games during the U19s recent Euro triumph in Georgia and headed England's opener in the stunning 2-1 win over Portugal in Saturday's final.
Suliman's rise comes as no surprise to football-lovers within Britain's South Asian community.
He is the only British Muslim to have skippered England at any level - captaining the U16s in the past - and played every minute of England's U17 World Cup campaign in Chile in 2015.
The 19-year-old won Young Player of the Year at the Asian Football Awards in 2015 before landing the Youth Sport Trust Young Sportsperson of the Year at the 2016 British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards.
"To bring the [Euro U19] trophy home is surreal really. I just can't believe it," Suliman told Sky Sports.
"With my success now at the Euros, it just shows anything is possible. I've already had lots of messages from the Asian community. It's just unbelievable. I'm really overwhelmed by it."
While centre-back Suliman was helping steer England to glory on Saturday, new Villa signing John Terry was making his Aston Villa debut in a pre-season friendly at Shrewsbury Town.
And Moseley man Suliman is relishing the prospect of training with and playing alongside the 36-year-old former Chelsea captain.
"I can't wait to hopefully learn from him this season," Suliman said.
"I've spoken to some of the Chelsea boys [in England's youth setup] about him already and they've all told me what a great leader he is and what a great player he is.
"It will be unbelievable just to watch him every day. I just want to be a sponge around him and learn as much as I can from him every day."