Birmingham news The Aston Villa teenager who blazed a trail against Liverpool MetiNews.Com
MetiNews.Com - One community watched on with admiration as Arjan Raikhy - Villa's battling under-18s midfielder - went toe-to-toe with Jordan Henderson and Liverpool in the FA Cup
Breaking News ! It was a performance that made every Aston Villa supporter burst with pride as Mark Delaney's youngsters pushed Jurgen Klopp's Premier League title winners in the FA Cup. And while Louie Barry stole the show with his fine solo run and finish to equalise against Liverpool last week, under-18 midfielder Arjan Raikhy stole the hearts of millions around the world after he became just the second south Asian footballer to make his Aston Villa debut. Raikhy, 18, follows Bodymoor Heath academy graduate Easah Suliman - now at Vitoria Guimaraes in Portugal - to be given a senior claret and blue bow after the centre-back, of Pakistani descent, came off the bench for Steve Bruce's Villa in the Carabao Cup victory over Wigan back in August 2017. As for Raikhy, the Telford-born Punjabi teenager performed valiantly in the heart of Delaney's midfield up against the likes of Jordan Henderson, Curtis Jones, Gini Wijnaldum and, in the second half, Thiago Alcantara. Video Loading Video Unavailable Click to play Tap to play The video will auto-play soon8Cancel Play now After the 4-1 defeat, Raikhy immediately sent Villa supporter group Punjabi Villans a thank-you message for their constant support. As for the Punjabi Villans, co-founder Ricky Cheema spoke of his pride afterwards and labelled Raikhy's debut "groundbreaking". "This kid has arrived from our community," Cheema said, during his interview with Sky Sports. "He's south Asian, pushing up front against Liverpool, the Champions League winners and the Premier League title winners. You're like, 'Wow! There's a guy who looks just like us'. "We were like right we've got to get right behind him, we're going to support him. It was just incredible to watch him play. We were kicking every ball, heading every ball. When he was tackling, we were going through that tackle with him! It was such an amazing feeling to see somebody from our community that was on the pitch under the spotlight, the FA Cup; everyone still watches the FA Cup, all the purists do.
. Even they would have been confused; they would have been like who do I support here, my club or this lad that looks just like me that's playing against them?"
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Villa-mad Cheema added: "Listen, Raikhy won so many supporters being on that pitch. They all played out of their skins, matched Liverpool to the 60th minute. I'd say when Raikhy came off the game changed but that's another question! "Honestly, it was incredible. It was ground-breaking, that's what it was. Ground-breaking to see a lad play at the top level. So may it continue. This is the start and he played in our beloved claret and blue. It's just poetry." Fellow Punjabi Villan Harjit Singh said: "My five-year-old boy's name is Arjan as well and he was loving it. It's exactly that, though, the fact kids watching on the TV; they were saying, 'Dad, he looks like me'. It gives Asians hope that they too can become a professional footballer like Raikhy. I know he's worked hard for that opportunity and it was fantastic to see him in action."
Source = MetiNews.Com