Neil Taylor wants to see a British Asian football superstar
'I am hoping over the next decade we get somebody who comes through, who is pretty much a superstar from South Asia [or Britain's South Asian community]'
By Dev Trehan & Rebecca Williams
Last Updated: 28/08/19 9:53pm
Aston Villa full-back Neil Taylor hopes to see a superstar footballer emerge from Britain's South Asian community within the next decade.
Wales international Taylor has an English father and an Indian mother and became the first British Asian to score at a major tournament when he scored in between goals from Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale in a 3-0 win for The Dragons over Russia at EURO 2016.
Taylor and Leicester City midfielder Hamza Choudhury are the only British Asians to have featured in the Premier League so far this season.
"That is the million-dollar question and a difficult one," Taylor told Sky Sports News when asked why there are relatively few Asian footballers playing across the leagues.
"I've talked about this a lot with different people to try and find the reasons as to why there are not so many South Asian players out there.
"People need to think there is a pathway for us, there is a way we can get to the top and we should believe because there is somebody we can look at who does it.
"So I am hoping over the next decade we get somebody who comes through, who is pretty much a superstar from South Asia [or Britain's South Asian community].
"But I think the biggest task is: can we just get more throughout the leagues? Even if it's playing Conference level. Of course the number one factor is you have to be good enough."
'We're all role models'
Taylor has certainly demonstrated that he is good enough, earning 42 international caps to date and amassing almost 250 appearances in the top two divisions of English football.
Asked whether he considers himself as a role model to other British Asians given his achievements in the game, Taylor said: "I don't know. Hopefully, I can be. It's difficult to call yourself a role model. When you're just a normal everyday guy you don't see yourself as one.
"But I guess the level that we play at, and the way in which it is broadcasted all across the world, every single player in the Premier League is a role model, hence why our behaviour is watched so carefully.
"But if I can be a role model for just one person who makes it, then it is worth it."
'Racism needs kicking out'
Taylor grew up in a small market town in North Wales. His experience growing up was largely positive but as his football career began to blossom, Taylor became more aware of racism directed at him.
"As a team, I had it [racism] with Wales - it was U16 or U17 level and we were playing abroad, and all the lads were subjected to racism there.
"There were a lot of uneducated people out there but it was coming from their coaches, fans, people on the side, everything.
"You always get the P*** one, I've been called the n-word, which shows how people are so uneducated that they can't even insult you properly, which is terrible. It's almost laughable that people can be that bad but I think they are the type of words you don't want to hear.
"I believe if you ask players that used to play back in the early 90s or 80s - especially when black players were first coming into the game in the 70s - they would tell you it was a lot tougher.
"They had a lot more to deal with but of course they probably didn't have the social media outlets and the barrage people get there, but it's still something that needs kicking out.
"In general, I do think we are making strides forward and the fact we are talking about it, the fact we are doing this interview shows that we are doing something."
The latest instalment of our 'Tackling Racism' series on Sky Sports News can be seen on Monday September 2, hosted by Dharmesh Sheth and focusing on British Asians in football.