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South Asians in Football Weekly: Sheffield United's England U19 wing-back Sai Sachdev joins Oldham on loan

Sai Sachdev, Brandon Khela, Zidane Iqbal, Yan Dhanda, Anwar Uddin and Vimal Yoganathan are among those who have had a positive week in the Beautiful Game; our resident expert Dev Trehan brings you the details in the latest edition of South Asians in Football Weekly

Sai Sachdev of England U19 (L) and Matti Wagner of Germany U19 (R) compete for the ball during the International Friendly match between Germany U19 and England U19 at Oliva Nova Sports Center on September 06, 2023 near Valencia, Spain.
Image: Sai Sachdev has played across England age-group sides and made his U19s debut last year

The latest edition of South Asians in Football Weekly is out after another decent week for the community in the Beautiful Game...

England U19 wing-back Sai Sachdev has joined Oldham Athletic on loan until the end of the season.

The move from Sheffield United is the first senior loan of promising young Sachdev's career.

"Sai fits the profile of what we're looking for in an out-and-out wing-back," Oldham manager Micky Mellon said.

"He's young, energetic and ambitious, those are qualities we want to bring to the football club.

"I'm delighted to have Sai on board."

Former Leicester City youngster Sachdev added: "I'm really happy to get this move done, I've been looking to make the step into men's football this season.

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"Youth football is good, but playing for points which mean something every week is a different level, and something I'm looking forward to. I can't wait to get going at Oldham."

Khela links up with Dhanda

Brandon Khela has trained with Ross County this week after Sky Sports News exclusively revealed the England youth international was making a sensational loan move to the Scottish Premiership side for the remainder of the season.

The 18-year-old is now set for his first taste of top-division football, although he could make his County debut before that when the Staggies host Partick Thistle in the Scottish Cup fourth round this weekend.

Khela celebrates his birthday on Friday, and is expected to wear the number 19 shirt for Ross County this season.

The temporary switch will see Khela link up with one of Britain's highest-profile South Asian heritage footballers, former Liverpool youngster Yan Dhanda.

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Watch all the angles after Yan Dhanda scored directly from a corner against Hearts' fierce Edinburgh rivals Hibs in the Scottish Premiership last season

Dhanda has been one of County's standout performers since joining the club as a free agent on a two-year deal after leaving Swansea in the summer of 2022.

The 25-year-old, who has been the subject of recent transfer speculation, has scored eight goals and contributed 14 assists in 51 Scottish Premiership appearances.

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Ross County's Yan Dhanda scored this sublime free-kick against Hearts in the Scottish Premiership.

Dhanda was recently described by Staggies' fans' group The County Corner as the "crown jewel of the Dingwall side" and scored one of the best goals of his career at the end of last year, netting from 30 yards with a stunning free-kick in a 2-2 draw at Hearts.

Iqbal sets European target

Former Manchester United midfielder Zidane Iqbal hopes he can lead FC Utrecht into Europe when he returns from Asian Cup duty with Iraq.

Sky Sports News revealed in 2021 that Iqbal, who is the son of an Iraqi mother and a Pakistani father, had become the first South Asian heritage player in Manchester United's history when he appeared in a Champions League clash under former interim manager Ralf Rangnick.

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Zidane Iqbal paid tribute to his friends, family and coaches on social media after becoming the first footballer from Britain's South Asian community to play for Manchester United

But the midfielder left United last summer in search of more regular first-team opportunities and is now carving out a new identity for himself in the Dutch Eredivisie with Utrecht.

"I've settled in really well," Iqbal told Sky Sports News' Amar Mehta.

"The lads, the team, the staff have really taken me in, and they all speak English, which helps.

"Right now, I'm focused on the Asian Cup, but I'll also keep an eye out for the Utrecht results.

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Manchester United's Zidane Iqbal said he is proud of his diverse heritage and upbringing as he prepared to make his international debut for Iraq away in Iran (courtesy of MUTV)

"When I'm back, hopefully pick up more minutes, learn as a player, and hopefully stay away from injuries.

"The team goal is to try and get into Europe for next season."

Iqbal started Iraq's 3-1 opening game win against Indonesia at the Asian Cup on Monday.

Sky Sports News exclusively revealed last month that Iqbal was set to earn an international recall and make his Asian Cup tournament debut.

Yoganathan signs first pro deal

Barnsley teenager Vimal Yoganathan has signed his first contract in professional football, penning a two-and-a-half-year deal at Oakwell.

The midfielder has played for Barnsley in both the Carabao Cup and FA Cup this season, after featuring prominently for the club's U18s last term, helping them land the U18 Professional Development title for the first time in their history.

"It's an amazing feeling, it's everything I've worked towards these last couple of years since being at the club," he told Barnsley's official website.

"I couldn't have done any of this without the help of the staff, my team-mates and my family, and I'm excited about my future at Barnsley.

Barnsley's interim director of football, Bobby Hassell, added: "Vimal possesses a great attitude and a strong desire to continuously learn and improve.

"Vimal is now part of the increasing list of talented central midfielders emerging from our academy. We have high expectations that he will make a significant impact on the first-team environment in the coming years."

Meanwhile, the Football Association has confirmed England C are heading to Wales to play Cymru C.

Sky Sports News revealed in the last edition of South Asians in Football Weekly that former Dagenham and Redbridge captain Anwar Uddin was set to return to the dugout to assist Paul Fairclough for the fourth contest between the two teams in recent years.

England will take on Mark Jones' side at Llanelli Town's Stebonheath Park on March 19.

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