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Easah Suliman: Ex-Aston Villa player and England youth captain makes Pakistan debut in game against Kenya

Aston Villa academy graduate and former England U20 captain Easah Suliman makes Pakistan international debut in game with Kenya; Suliman debuts three days after fellow British-Pakistani Otis Khan's first appearance for Pakistan; Villans Together: "It's the stuff that dreams are made of"

Easah Suliman
Image: Football fans across the world have celebrated Easah Suliman's international debut for Pakistan

Former England youth captain Easah Suliman has made his senior international debut for Pakistan.

The Aston Villa academy graduate featured in Pakistan's match with Kenya in Mauritius, three days after Grimsby Town midfielder and fellow British-Pakistani Otis Khan made his international debut for the Shaheens.

Suliman is also thought of fondly at Grimsby after joining the club on loan earlier in his career, some six months after scoring the opener in the final to help England win the U19 European Championship back in 2017.

The defender, who has just been named in a first-of-its-kind South Asians in Football Team of the Season, now plays for Vitoria Guimaraes in Portugal's top division, spending last season on loan an UD Vilanfranquense where he started the club's last 14 matches.

Suliman came up through the ranks at Villa and turned professional at the club on his 17th birthday, before taking in loan spells at Cheltenham Town and Dutch side Emmen, either side of joining Grimsby.

The centre-back made his Villa debut under former manager Steve Bruce in a League Cup tie against Wigan before eventually making the switch to Portuguese top-flight outfit Vitoria for an undisclosed fee in 2020.

'Stuff that dreams are made of'

Co-founder of Aston Villa supporters' group Villans Together, Nilesh Chauhan, told Sky Sports News: "Easah was somebody extremely well-liked by everybody at Aston Villa - a brilliant role model and ambassador for the club and someone who was always very generous with his time.

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"It's great to see him still progressing and getting opportunities. After captaining England juniors and winning a trophy, to now go on and play for Pakistan is the stuff that dreams are made of really.

"But Easah has never stopped. He has earned the chance to play on the international stage and seeing that is so valuable for any South Asian youngster with aspirations and looking to get into the game.

"We are very proud to have broken new ground by creating our own fans' group in Northern Pakistan a couple of years ago where kids are learning about the Beautiful Game the Aston Villa way.

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Swindon Town have opened an academy in Karachi in an effort to try and support football in Pakistan and unearth a potential South Asian superstar.

"This news will have a huge impact for them, just as it will for British South Asians in Football."

Suliman has earned international recognition at youth level throughout age groups with England, most recently featuring for the nation at U20 level.

England's Easah Suliman at Heathrow Airport, London.
Image: Suliman arrives at London Heathrow with the U19 Euros trophy

The defender is the first British-Pakistani to captain an England side and played every minute of England's U17 World Cup campaign in Chile 2015.

Two years later, Suliman helped England become European U19 champions, scoring a header in a 2-1 win against Portugal in the final.

Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale and Tottenham's Ryan Sessegnon were also part of that England U19 team, with Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount - who has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United this summer - named as the Player of the Tournament.

Pakistan are returning to South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship action later this month after missing the 2021 tournament due to a FIFA suspension for third-party interference.

The country's women's team returned to the international arena at last year's Women's SAFF Championship in Nepal.

Doncaster Rovers Belles attacker Nadia Khan, who Sky Sports News revealed had received international clearance just in time to fly to Kathmandu for the tournament, made history in Pakistan's final group game against Mauritius, becoming the first woman to score four goals in an international match for the nation.

British South Asians in Football

For more stories, features and videos, visit our groundbreaking South Asians in Football page on and South Asians in the Game blog and stay tuned to Sky Sports News and our Sky Sports digital platforms.

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