Birmingham City Women boss Darren Carter promises to continue rewarding young talent after 16-year-old Layla Banaras was called up

Birmingham City Women manager Darren Carter said 16-year-old Layla Banaras had “stepped up another level” and was firmly part of his plans.

Banaras spent half her life playing for Birmingham City and became the latest Blues academy treadmill player to join the first team when she made the bench for the impressive 1- 0 in the Championship against Bristol City last weekend at Porte d’Ashton.

The versatile youngster capped off a memorable week by scoring and assisting the U21s in an impressive 5-0 victory at Brighton in midweek, featuring Hannah Fishwick, Charlotte Crees, Grace Murphy and the academy goal machine Delphi Cole also on target for the Blues.

The teenager, who can play in defense and midfield, captained Birmingham’s U16 academy side last season before moving into the club’s development squad.

Benares played the full 90 minutes as the youngest player on the pitch, aged just 16 years and 25 days, in last season’s FA WSL U21 Academy Cup final against Manchester United at St George’s Park.

Carter revealed Banaras’ hard tackles impressed academy technical director Paul Cowie on his return this season, insisting quality young players with strong values ​​will continue to be rewarded with team opportunities first at Birmingham City.

“Layla has been great with her attitude with the U21s,” Carter said.

“Paul Cowie has said since the start of the season that she came back and took it to another level.

“We’ve had a few injuries with the first team and she’s come and trained with us probably for the last three or four weeks now, and you can see a real improvement in her intensity and energy level. .

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“But his attitude has also been excellent. You can see now that she is starting to gain confidence in the first-team environment.

“She is training very well and she deserved this chance. Since I came here, I’ve always said, if young players come in and try their luck – and impress and show a good attitude – then I’ll always reward that.

“It was certainly deserved by Layla, it certainly wasn’t a given, she earned her place on the bench (against Bristol City) and she will continue to be with us for the foreseeable future. »

Iftikhar works at the World Cup with Belgium

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Fort William boss Shadab Iftikhar spoke to Sky Sports News about his appointment at Highland League club Fort William, discussing what it was like to manage in Mongolia and what he learned working with Belgian boss Roberto Martinez.

Meanwhile, fellow trailblazer Shadab Iftikhar is working with Belgium at the World Cup in Qatar, Sky Sports News understand.

Sky Sports News revealed last year that Iftikhar was taking over as manager at Highland League side Fort William in a move that has seen him become the first British South Asian to manage in senior Scottish football.

Iftikhar’s partnership with Belgian manager Roberto Martinez began when he was introduced to the then Wigan boss during his FA Level 2 coaching course. over Latics opposition and followed Martinez to Everton.

After earning his UEFA A license, Preston-born Iftikhar moved to Mongolia to take charge of New Mongol Bayangol, later becoming the Mongolian national team’s assistant coach – before a stint as boss of Vailima Kiwi FC in the Samoa National League.

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Last summer, the British-Pakistani Iftikhar joined Martinez again in the Belgian coach’s technical team at Euro 2020.

Roberto Martinez instructs Kevin De Bruyne in Belgium’s 1-0 World Cup win over Canada

Talk to 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 learned from the gaffer, he helped my career so much .

“Every time I talk to him, I understand so much. He’s the smartest man I’ve ever met. I am grateful to him, to his team – Shaun Maloney and Luke Benstead are brilliant people, they helped me so much And the gaffer, I am where I am today thanks to him.

“I have nothing but the utmost respect for him. He is an absolute gentleman and honestly I cannot thank him enough for what he has done for me personally on and off the pitch. »

British South Asians in football

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