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Proud Markanday on senior debut: “Anything is possible”

Sat 23 October 2021, 10:00|Tottenham Hotspur

Dilan Markanday spoke of an “unbelievable feeling” after earning his first team debut at Vitesse on Thursday night – and making an important piece of history in the process.

The 20-year-old attacking midfielder came off the bench for the last 15 minutes on what was a tough night for us in the Netherlands as we slipped to our first defeat in the group stage of the Europa Conference League, Maximilian Wittek’s late strike handing the hosts a 1-0 victory.

Result aside, his first senior appearance naturally represented a significant personal milestone for Dilan, but it also meant he entered the history books as the first ever British Asian – as well as the first player of Indian descent – to play for our men’s first team in a competitive game.

Understandably, he was proud to be able to blaze such a trail: “It means a lot to be honest – to be the first is a great feeling, but more so I hope it inspires all young Asian footballers to go and chase their dreams because anything is possible if you put your mind to it and work for it,” said the Barnet-born Academy product, who joined us in the Under-12s but initially played down in the Under-11s on account of being one of the youngest in his year group.

“For me, it was an unbelievable feeling to make my debut for this great club, a moment I’ve been working towards and dreaming about since I was a young boy. For it to come true was a special feeling, one that me and my family are very proud of.

“I’m very grateful to the manager for putting his trust in me in that moment and also to my close family and friends who have been there in good times and bad times throughout my journey so far. Their support has been amazing and I’m lucky to have them, and also the staff from the Academy… some of them have known me since the age of 12 and others I’ve known more recently, but they all give everything to this club and help the boys improve every single day. Ultimately it’s for moments like this, for players like myself to go, push on and try to become part of the first team.”

Thursday night wasn’t the first time Dilan has made history for us – in March, 2019, he scored in the first ever match at our new stadium as our Under-18s beat Southampton and in recent months he’s been in fine form for our Under-23s, following up on his five goals in pre-season with six goals in seven league games, scoring two hat-tricks since July and earning two nominations for Premier League 2 Player of the Month during the calendar year so far.

I’m very grateful to the manager for putting his trust in me in that moment and also to my close family and friends.

Dilan Markanday

First named on the bench for our senior side in the home leg of our Europa League tie against Wolfsberger AC in February, he made a Premier League matchday squad for the first time as an unused substitute at Crystal Palace in September and after a couple more appearances on the bench in Europe, he finally got the nod to come on for another young talent, Dane Scarlett, in attack for the important closing stages in Arnhem.

Having played and scored as a false nine on numerous occasions for the Under-23s this term, he slotted straight in up front as we chased a breakthrough at the Gelredome.

“I was a little bit nervous when I was told I was coming on, but those nerves turned to excitement very quickly. I just wanted to get out there and do my best for the team,” added the former Haberdashers’ School pupil, whose younger brother Rishi is a keen cricketer and a regular face in the stands along with his parents in support of Dilan on Academy matchdays. “It was difficult, especially coming up against such physical centre-backs, but I just had to give everything and try to help the team.

“I just want to continue working hard and keep progressing now. It’s important to work hard, believe in myself and hopefully any further opportunities will happen in their own time.”