Midfielder Zidane Iqbal has been left out of the Iraq squad for the upcoming Jordan International Tournament because he wants to focus on matters at Manchester United.
The youngster, who made a real name for himself during the pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia during July, is a notable absentee from the Iraq squad, after they recently announced their 31-man squad for the aforementioned tournament. Iqbal, despite having only made two senior caps for his country, is one of their most exciting prospects.
However, it has been confirmed that he has been left out of the squad for the Jordan International Tournament later this month as he wants to focus on his personal development at Old Trafford. The 19-year-old has been included on the Reds’ Europa League B list this season, meaning an opportunity for him to play first-team football could present itself at some point this season.
Mahdi Karim, the managing director of the Iraq national team, said: “Zidane Iqbal and Ali Al Hammadi have apologised for not joining the national team because of their desire to focus with their clubs.”
Iqbal, who was on the bench for United’s 2-0 win over Sheriff Tiraspol in the Europa League in Moldova on Thursday night, is considered as one of the most highly-rated prospects within manager Erik ten Hag’s pool of youngsters. He was, arguably, the breakout star of the pre-season tour, producing a collection of exciting performances.
The Iraq international featured in a deep-lying midfield role alongside Charlie Savage in pre-season but did not refrain from venturing forward and, at times, drifting out wide. It prompted the midfielder to admit that he does not mind what position he plays in, so long as he can make an impression on Ten Hag.
“I don’t mind playing in a double pivot, as a No.10 or on the wing, anywhere the manager asks me to play,” Iqbal told United View back in July . “When I was younger I used to play as a No.10, but over time you adapt your game a bit more.
“But if it’s the wing, or anywhere, I don’t mind as long as I am on the pitch.”
Iqbal has made one competitive appearance for United so far, stepping off the bench during a 1-1 draw with BSC Young Boys in the Champions League in December last year. He has been named on the bench twice so far this term.