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FA Women's Championship: Blackburn Rovers will deliver in second half of the season, says Millie Chandarana

Millie Chandarana's journey in football has already taken her from Manchester to San Marino; the box-to-box midfielder has been back at Blackburn since the start of the season and says she expects an upturn in form from Rovers Ladies in the second half of the FA Women's Championship season

Millie Chandarana of Blackburn Rovers interacts with Hannah Coan of Blackburn Rovers prior to the FA Women's Continental Tyres League Cup match between Blackburn Rovers and Sheffield United at Bamber Bridge on December 05, 2021 in Bamber Bridge,
Image: Midfielder Millie Chandarana is thrilled to be back at Blackburn

Blackburn Rovers midfielder Millie Chandarana feels she has come "full-circle" after returning from Italy to the club where she made her senior debut in football as a 17-year-old.

The English-Gujarati midfielder spent two seasons in Italy's top division, Serie A Feminine, playing for UPC Tavagnacco in 2019 before joining San Marino Academy the following year.

Chandarana returned to FA Women's Championship side Blackburn over the summer and has since re-established herself as a mainstay in the team.

"I've come full-circle now landing back in Blackburn and it's great to be playing in the Championship," the 24-year-old told Sky Sports News.

"The level is so much higher than when I left England. It's so so much faster, it's much more technical and I'm still learning, I'm always learning.

Julia Simic of AC Milan competes for the ball with Millie Chandarana of San Marino Academy during the Women Serie A match between AC Milan and San Marino Academy at Centro Sportivo Vismara on February 7, 2021 in Milan,
Image: Chandarana in action against AC Milan during her time in Italy

"It was such a wonderful opportunity for me to go and play in Italy. I am really grateful for the experience and I still speak a little bit of Italian now.

"But I feel like The FA Women's Championship now is very competitive. It's been amazing to come back to England and see that the Championship, the second division of women's football, is pretty much a professional league [in terms of playing standard].

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"England is now probably one of the top countries in the world for women's football."

Chandarana had a spell with third-tier Loughborough after completing a sports science degree at the town's famed university, before heading off to Italy. But the box-to-box midfielder from Manchester is glad to be back home.

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Rovers have three league wins and are 10th in the Championship at the midway point of the season, but Chandarana is expecting Blackburn to perform much better in the second half of the campaign.

"I absolutely love it at Blackburn. It's been really good and the team have been great," she said.

"I really think that I fit in well. And the team are doing great despite our league position at the minute, which maybe doesn't reflect that.

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"But I promise you, we are coming, because we are a great team - and the points will come as long as we are consistent. I want us to get as high as possible as we can in the league and I think we can still do it, and still have a great season this year."

Taylor to continue at Middlesbrough

Neil Taylor is set to re-sign with Middlesbrough for the rest of the season as Chris Wilder looks to bolster their push for promotion, writes Lyall Thomas.

The Wales left-back signed a short-term deal there last summer that runs until mid-January and has had interest from other clubs including Coventry.

Trinidad and Tobago Levi Garcia (left) Wales' Neil Taylor (right) battle for the ball during the International Friendly match at the Racecourse Ground, Wrexham. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday March 20, 2019. See PA story SOCCER Wales. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use.
Image: Neil Taylor looks set to extend his stay at Middlesbrough until the end of the season

But he is expected to stay at the Riverside and then re-assess his future again in the summer. The 32-year-old is keen to play abroad before the end of his career and has had interest from the Middle East and India.

Wales international Taylor is one of few players in English football with South Asian heritage. He told Sky Sports News in 2019 that he hopes to one-day see a superstar emerge from the region.

Meanwhile, Arjan Raikhy has returned to Aston Villa after a spell on loan at Stockport County.

The midfielder, who won the FA Youth Cup with Aston Villa last season, made eight appearances for the National League side including three in the FA Cup.

British South Asians in Football

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