Manipur: Bikash Yumnam Becomes 1st Indian Footballer to Feature in “The Guardian’s Next Generation 2020”

“Composed on the ball, a great reader of the game, and capable of excellent, fast, long throw-ins, the teenager has already been earmarked for a quick progression to the full international side,” reads his profile on The Guardian website.

Defender Bikash Yumnam is the first and only Indian player to get featured in The Guardian’s Next Generation 2020: 60 of the best young talents in world football.

“Composed on the ball, a great reader of the game, and capable of excellent, fast, long throw-ins, the teenager has already been earmarked for a quick progression to the full international side,” reads his profile on The Guardian website.

The profile mentions his performance in the 2018 Asian under-16 championship where India made the quarter-finals, losing 0-1 to South Korea. It was the only goal India conceded in the competition following 0-0 draws against Iran and Indonesia.

The 17-year-old Manipur-born defender was loaned to Indian Arrows, the All India Football Federation’s development side, for the 2019-20 I-League. After 16 games, the Indians-only Arrows who are protected from relegation were at the bottom of the 11-team standings. He has played nine games in the I-League top tier before it was halted because of Covid-19 pandemic.

The Guardian has been releasing the list of next generation player every year since 2014.

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