Hamza Dewan Choudhury, the first English professional footballer of Bangladeshi descent, can become an inspiring figure for the next generation if he chooses to play international football for Bangladesh, Watford head coach Rob Edwards has said.
The former England U21 midfielder, who has Grenadian and Sylheti roots, last week opened the door to the possibility of playing for Bangladesh in an interview aired on Sky Sports News.
Hamza’s popularity in Bangladesh factors in his desire to represent the South Asian country. He also wants to reconnect with his roots in Bangladesh.
The 24-year-old said he is open to playing for Bangladesh, adding he would be “more than proud” and “honoured” to represent the country.
Edwards told Sky Sports that Hamza can give the next generation of youngsters a renewed sense of belief if he decides to play for Bangladesh. “I think it could be a fantastic thing if that is what he chooses to do.”
“I think he can be a real beacon for young Bangladeshi kids, who could look to him and say I can do that.”
“Hamza can be a real shining light as someone who can encourage others to take up the sport. If he chooses to do it, I think it could be really positive for a lot of people.”
The midfielder, who struggled for minutes at Leicester last season, has been a mainstay in Edwards’ side since joining the Hornets on a season-long loan with an option to buy.
His arrival at Watford last month was greeted with delight by the club’s East and South East Asian fans’ group, ESEA Hornets, who said they were thrilled to welcome a British Asian to the football club.
“Definitely the best is yet to come from him, no doubt about it. He is a very good young player and a very good person as well,” Edwards said.
Hamza was born in 1997 in Loughborough, England. His mother and stepfather are both from Bangladesh. So, he can represent Bangladesh if he wants to.
The midfielder’s ancestral hometown is Bahubal, Habiganj. Due to his upbringing in a typical Bengali-Muslim family, he speaks Bangla fluently. Hamza’s biological father is from Grenada. So, he can also represent the Grenada national football team.
Hamza showed his footballing prowess at a very early age and was called up to England’s U21 side in 2018. He played seven matches for the Three Lions’ age-group level team from 2018 to 2019.
The midfielder began his youth career at the age of 14 at the Leicester City football academy. He played for four years (2011-2015) for the club’s youth level teams before making his full professional debut for Leicester’s senior side in 2015.
Hamza was loaned out to Burton Albion for the 2015–2016 and 2016–2017 seasons.
After two successful campaigns with Burton Albion, he came back to Leicester in 2017 and played five consecutive Premier League seasons with the club. In 2019–202, Hamza made 20 league appearances for Leicester, which is the highest for him in a single season.
He won the FA Cup (2020–2021) and FA Community Shield (2021) with Leicester. He has an international trophy (Toulon Tournament: 2018) with the England U21 side as well.
Source: United News of Bangladesh