Birmingham City Women manager Darren Carter says 16-year-old Layla Banaras has “added another level” and is part of his plans.
Banaras spent half his playing career at Birmingham City, and became the latest player on the Blues Academy conveyor belt to step up and join the first team when he made the bench in last weekend’s impressive 1-0 win over Bristol City. Ashton Gate.
The versatile youngster capped a memorable week by scoring and assisting the U21s in an impressive 5-0 win at Brighton in midweek, with Hannah Fishwick, Charlotte Crees, Grace Murphy and academy goal machine Delphi Cole also on target for the Blues.
The youngster, who can play in central defense and midfield, captained Birmingham’s U16 academy team last season before stepping up to represent the development team.
Banaras played the full 90 minutes as the youngest player on the pitch, aged just 16 years and 25 days, in the FA WSL U21 Academy Cup final against Manchester United at St George’s Park.
Carter revealed the struggles of Banaras who impressed academy director Paul Cowie after his return this season, insisting young players of good character will continue to be given first-team opportunities at Birmingham City.
“Layla has been doing really well with the U21s,” said Carter.
“Paul Cowie has said since the start of the season that he is back and adding another layer.
“We had a few injuries with the first team and he has come and trained with us for probably the last three or four weeks now, and you can see his progress in terms of strength and power.
“But his behavior has also been very good. You can see now that he is starting to have a lot of confidence in the first team.
“He’s doing very well, and he deserved this opportunity. I’ve been saying since I came here that if the young players come to take their chance – and entertain and show a good attitude – then I’ll always reward that.
“Of course he got it with Layla, he wasn’t given away, he got a place on the bench (against Bristol City) and he will continue to be with us before that.”
Iftikhar is working in the World Cup with Belgium
Meanwhile, his next partner Shadab Iftikhar is working with Belgium at the World Cup in Qatar, Sky Sports news they understand.
Sky Sports news It was revealed last year that Iftikhar was taking up the role of manager at Highland League side Fort William, making him the first British South Asian to take charge of Scottish football.
Iftikhar’s association with Belgian manager Roberto Martinez began when he was introduced to the then Wigan boss during his FA Level 2 coaching training. Impressed, Iftikhar soon made reports about Latics’ opposition and followed Martinez to Everton.
After completing his UEFA A Licence, Preston-born Iftikhar moved to Mongolia to manage New Mongol Bayangol, later becoming assistant manager of the Mongolian national team – before becoming manager of Vailima Kiwi FC in the Samoa National League.
Last summer, British-Pakistani Iftikhar reunited with Martinez as part of Belgium’s professional squad for Euro 2020.
Talking with Sky Sports news last year about his relationship with Belgian boss Martinez, Iftikhar said: “I don’t have enough hours in the day to talk about what I’ve learned from the gaffer, he’s only helped me a lot in my career.
“Every time I talk to him, I get a lot. He’s the smartest guy I’ve ever met. I’m thankful, to his staff – Shaun Maloney and Luke Benstead are smart people, they’ve helped me a lot. And the worst part, I’m where I am today because of him.
“I have nothing but the utmost respect for him. He’s a true gentleman, and, frankly, I can’t thank him enough for what he’s done for me personally on and off the field.”
British South Asians in Football
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