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England youth international Simran Jhamat weighs up Bristol City future as London Bees starlet Roop Kaur thrives

Former Liverpool forward Simran Jhamat weighing up her future at Bristol City Women; England youth international scored on debut at Crystal Palace on the opening day of the FA Women's Championship season; Jhamat is the only Punjabi girl ever to score at competitive level for England's U17s

Simran Jhamat takes part in England training
Image: Simran Jhamat takes part in England training

Trailblazing Bristol City’s Women’s forward Simran Jhamat is weighing up her future at the club, Sky Sports News understands.

Sky Sports News revealed last year that Jhamat was moving to Bristol City Women to become the first player of South Asian heritage in the club's history.

Jhamat got off to a flying start at Bristol, netting 13 minutes into her first appearance for the club in a pre-season friendly against West Brom, before coming off the bench to score away at Crystal Palace in a seven-goal thriller on the opening day of the FA Women's Championship season.

Bristol City finished the season third, 15 points behind champions Liverpool, who were promoted back to the FA Women's Super League.

Sikh-Punjabi attacker Jhamat hails from Walsall and was spotted playing for local club Sporting Khalsa at junior level, before being snapped up by Aston Villa's Girls' Centre of Excellence where she spent seven seasons before joining Liverpool in 2017.

She was handed her top-flight debut by former Liverpool boss Vicky Jepson in January 2019.

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Bristol City Women's forward Simran Jhamat is a 'flagbearer' for British South Asians who dream of making it in the game, says Charlton Women assistant Riteesh Mishra

In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports News, Jepson said: "Simran was a pleasure to work with.

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"I worked with her in the U21s at Liverpool and also with the England U21s, so I got to see her club and an international environment as a youth player. She was great to work with as a young player who had a growth mindset and wanted to be better.

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Vicky Jepson says Simran Jhamat's performances for England at youth level helped convince her to give the winger a debut for Liverpool in 2019

"What I saw from her in the international setup, playing against top teams like France, Spain, USA, convinced me she could compete. She was definitely worth giving a chance to have a debut for Liverpool.

"I thoroughly enjoyed working with her for the time I did."

Sim Maz Khalsa (Dev Trehan)
Image: Simran Jhamat trains alongside York City and Afghanistan international midfielder Maz Kouhyar at Sporting Khalsa during pre-season

Jhamat has earned international recognition across different England youth age groups and became the first Punjabi girl to score at competitive level for England's U17s when she netted in a 6-0 Euro qualifying win against Slovakia.

Bees coach Ryan: Kaur can go far in the game

Roop Kaur London Bees
Image: Roop Kaur has matured with every performance for the London Bees U16 side this season

London Bees academy midfielder Roop Kaur has the potential to go far in the women's game, according to head coach John Ryan.

Former QPR player Kaur impressed Hertfordshire-based talent developer Ryan at London Bees academy trials last year, and has since become a mainstay in the heart of midfield for the club's U16s side.

Middlesex Centre of Excellence graduate Kaur won the Capital Girls County Cup with Ruislip Rangers, which was a first for the club, also earning Middlesex County honours in a 4-3 win against MK Dons.

"Roop's made really good progress since she's come in," Ryan told Sky Sports News.

"She's really matured in her game and developed her tactical understanding. We're really happy with her.

Roop Kaur Jira Rai
Image: Roop Kaur met Derby County's Kira Rai at the Seeing is Believing event, devised by Sky Sports and Sporting Equals for century-old sports club Indian Gymkhana (credit: Dev Trehan)

"She excels in her ball manipulation and has high technical ability. She can always be trusted with the ball at her feet. She absolutely has the potential to go further in the game."

Ryan took on talented young coach Elliott Jealous to assist him this season. Jealous said Ryan's high standards and commitment to creating an inclusive environment is what sets him apart from other coaches in the girls' game.

"Diverse backgrounds and diverse thinking and diverse backgrounds are so important in life and within football," added Jealous. "That's certainly what we try to offer here [at London Bees].

"But when it comes down to it, it's all about the player's ability and nothing else. And Roop is a fantastic player with a lot of potential, and she's great to have around."

Kaur and Birmingham City duo on the rise

Kaur is part of the best crop of South Asian female elite-potential football talent this country has ever seen and is five months younger than Birmingham City starlet Layla Banaras, who is also making huge strides in the women's game.

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Doncaster Rovers Belles' Nadia Khan scores from inside the centre circle in her side's 3-1 win over Solihull Moors

Tough-tackling Banaras captains the U16s side and has stepped up to represent the Development Squad on several occasions this season.

Banaras played the whole 90 minutes as the youngest player on the pitch, aged just 16 years and 25 days, in last month's FA WSL U21 Academy Cup final against Manchester United at St George's Park, increasing the clamour for the versatile wing-back to earn an England youth call-up.

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Sky Sports has announced partnership with Sporting Equals to support the charity’s ambition of inspiring more opportunities for British South Asians in football, particularly in the women's game

Sky Sports worked with Birmingham City to help support Banaras launch her Ramadan meal planner and nutrition guide ahead of the start of the Muslim holy month last year, with the teenager since going on to feature in campaigns for the Football Association and sportswear brand Under Armour.

Banaras and Birmingham City Girls' Regional Talent Centre Technical Director Paul Cowie both lent their support to another academy starlet, Riya Mannu, who participated in the FA's 'Football Celebrates Vaisakhi' event at Sporting Khalsa this weekend as a guest of the Sky Sports and Sporting Equals partnership.

Sky Sports News revealed last year that West Midlands side Sporting Khalsa were going to become the first team borne out of Britain's South Asian community to play at Step 4 of the Non-League System (eighth tier of English football).

Sporting Khalsa, who are celebrating their 30th anniversary season, enjoyed a fine maiden campaign in the Northern Premier League Midlands Division, finishing eighth, with a Walsall Senior Cup final against Rushall Olympic at the Bescot Stadium coming up on Thursday.

Riya Mannu lines up a free-kick
Image: Riya Mannu trains on the pitch at Sporting Khalsa

Fleet-footed forward Mannu joined Aston Villa's Arjan Raikhy, Port Vale's Mal Benning, freestyle footballer Kaljit Atwal, Sporting Khalsa girls' football co-ordinator Sabrina Dale and trailblazing twins Amar and Arjun Singh Purewal for an on-pitch panel at the event, which also featured coaching sessions, traditional food and Indian drummers.

Sunderland Sikh-Punjabis Amar and Arjun made FA Cup history as teenagers back in 2008 when they became the first twins ever to score in the same FA Cup tie, with both netting for Bishop Auckland in a 3-2 Extra Preliminary Round win over Darlington RA.

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Twins Amar and Arjun Singh Purewal spoke to Sky Sports News ahead of making history as the first British South Asian brothers to line up against each other under the arch in a Wembley Cup final

Just under a year ago, Sky Sports News revealed Amar and Arjun Singh Purewal would be making history as the first British South Asian brothers to line up against each other under the arch in a Wembley Cup final when Hebburn Town took on Consett in the FA Vase.

Arjun led Consett out as captain but it was Amar who came away with a winners' medal, opening the scoring in a 3-2 victory for Hebburn over their North-East rivals.

British South Asians in Football

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