After creating history by becoming the first British Asian to play a first-team game for Tottenham, it is little surprise that Dilan Markanday is dreaming big.
Markanday, born in Barnet to Indian parents, broke new boundaries when he came on as a substitute in Spurs’ Europa Conference League game against Vitesse Arnhem last month.
His achievement has rightly been celebrated as a significant moment for the player, the club and the community, but the 20-year-old, who has been nominated for the Premier League 2 player of the month for October, does not want to stop there.
He is dreaming of a one-club career at his beloved Tottenham, who he joined as an 11-year-old, while also hoping to act as a pioneer for other people to follow in his footsteps.
The winger said: “It was a proud moment being the first British Asian, it is obviously great.
“I hope more and more come through and I am the first of many. I hope that lots of British Asians make that step, believe in themselves, back themselves and can come through and show what they can do.
“The dream is to play for Tottenham for the next 15 years, playing every game, but obviously I know things might not work out and there are going to be ups and downs.”
British Asians are still highly under-represented in the professional game, so Markanday’s emergence can only be a positive catalyst for change.
He got a feel for what might be in store for him in terms of a raised profile after chatting on Zoom with members of some of Tottenham’s official supporters clubs in India, who congratulated him on making his debut.
While the starlet, who cites Lionel Messi, Mohamed Salah, Arjen Robben and Riyad Mahrez as his idols, is keen to inspire others, he does not want to put pressure on himself to be a flag-bearer.
Markdanday, whose youth career included AFC Finchley, said: “I have been aware of it on social media, people supporting me, following me and following my journey.
“All my family have been so supportive of me, taking that step, leaving school and trying to do football full-time.
“They have always supported me. Of course there are always going to be people who doubt you and say you shouldn’t have done that, but it is all about me and believing in myself and hopefully I can prove anyone who has doubted me wrong and I can keep going.”