Zimbabwe starlet added to England U18 squad
ZIMBABWEAN football is on the verge of losing another fledgling football star to England after teenage sensation Tristan Nydam was added to their Under-18 squad for a series of friendly matches against Qatar and Saudi Arabia in Doha starting on Wednesday.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The English Football Association confirmed Nydman’s inclusion in the 21-member squad on Friday as a replacement for Fulham midfielder Dennis Adeniran, who was forced to withdraw from the squad due to injury.
Friday’s inclusion in the Young Lions squad capped off Nydam’s meteoric rise in English football as it came barely three months after he signed his first professional contract — a two-year deal — with the English Football League Championship side Ipswich Town.
A product of the Ipswich Town Academy, Nydam, who has recently been tipped to have a successful career that could see him playing for the English senior national team, is yet to win a cap at any other level, although he was on standby for the England Under-17 squad for the European Championships last season.
The 17-year-old Ipswich Town midfielder, who was born in Zimbabwe and raised in Colchester, England, came on as a sub for the Ipswich Town first team in the pre-season friendly at Cambridge.
In January, the talented youngster — who can also play at left-back — was on the bench for the match at Huddersfield, but is yet to make his competitive senior debut in the Championship.
Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy recently touted the Zimbabwe-born midfielder to be a future star.
“Tristan Nydam, he’s a really good player. He’s the one that’s stood out for us,” McCarthy told the Independent Ipswich Town website.
“They’re generally miles off the first team at that age group, certainly coming in. I see them every day, because we’re all in the same building and on a lot of occasions they train.”
Nydam was born in Harare to Zimbabwean parents, but relocated to England during his early primary school, where he became a schoolboy player with Ipswich Town during the 2013-14 season.
He was in the same Ipswich Town academy as fellow Zimbabwean, England-born Kundai Benyu, who has since been loaned out to English National League side Aldershot Town.
Nydam becomes the second Zimbabwe-born player to be selected by England at junior level in recent years after Brendan Galloway, who is currently on loan at Premier League side West Bromwich Albion from Everton.
The trio are part of a growing number of talented young footballers to emerge from the ranks of Zimbabwe’s growing Diaspora community in recent years.