Advertising

A Nabi hat-trick for the Albion academy

Sandwell | Sport | Published:

It's getting increasingly difficult for academies to produce Premier League players - but West Brom have high hopes for three players from one family.

Many Baggies fans will have heard of 21-year-old striker Adil Nabi, who worked his way up through the youth teams alongside Saido Berahino.

But Adil has two younger brothers in Samir, aged 18, and Rahis, 16, who both play central midfield and are both impressing for the academy teams this season.

Academy boss Mark Harrison said: "It's unusual most definitely, I don't think there will be many academies that have three brothers from the same family in them.

"Both Rahis and Samir have some excellent technical qualities and, because they've been in the programme a long time, they understand our philosophy and the way that we want to play.

"They've both shown great aptitude and attitude."

All three boys joined the Baggies around the age of eight.

Adil has been starring for the under-21s for the past two seasons but at the moment he's on loan at Delhi Dynamos in the Indian Super League searching for a new experience and first-team football.

Advertising

ADIL NABI

DOB: 28/02/1994

Position: Striker

Loan club: Delhi Dynamos

Advertising

England U16 apps: 2

England U17 apps: 7

Other business: Adil was Albion's Young Player of the Year last season after scoring a hatful of goals for the U21s.

SAMIR NABI

DOB: 16/12/1996

Position: Central midfield

U21 apps (15/16): 9

U21 goals (15/16): 4

Other business: Samir scored four goals on his 18th birthday last December in an 8-1 win over Torquay United in the FA Youth Cup.

Rahis Nabi - West Bromwich Albion U18

RAHIS NABI

DOB: 15/04/1999

Position: Holding midfield

U18 apps (15/16): 10

U18 goals (15/16): 4

Harrison said: "The next stage of Adil's development is to see how he comes back from India. The players at this football club are fortunate that the head coach will integrate them into training sessions.

"It will be important for Adil when he comes in to show what he's learnt to the first-team staff."

Now 21, it is make-or-break time for Adil when he returns in December.

But things are just starting to get exciting for Samir, who Harrison likened in some ways to James Morrison.

He said: "We've got some interest from a couple of Football League clubs who want to take him out on loan. It could potentially happen before Christmas.

"When we told him that the opportunity had come up to maybe go and train with a couple of clubs, he was buzzing.

"He's played at under-21 level for a couple of years now, so he's definitely ready to go out.

"He's now maturing physically and mentally - he's ready."

Youngest of the trio is Rahis, a holding midfielder just starting to establish himself in the under-18s.

Harrison said: "He's got a good range of passing, and is quite aggressive in the tackle. He links the play back to front and left to right."

The 42-year-old has been at the club for 11 years and watched all the Nabi brothers grow up together.

He said: "The good thing is because they're at different stages in their development they help and mentor each other.

"When one has gone through a certain experience, they can help each other out. They're a very close-knit family."

The Nabis hail from Aston and are of Pakistani origin.

Adil has been nominated for the Asian Footballer of the Year award and Samir is on the shortlist for Young Asian Footballer of the Year.

Supported by the FA and now in their third year, the award winners will be announced at Wembley on Thursday.

They'd prefer to focus on football, but the brothers are starting to realise their position makes them poster boys for Asian children.

Harrison said: "They just want to get on with their football really, just want to be seen as footballers.

"But they have all matured and understand that in some respects they do have a responsibility to share their experiences.

"It helps people from the Asian community and shows them it is possible to be successful in football."

The number of Asian footballers in the English game is disproportionately low compared to the population but Harrison thinks integration is improving.

He said: "Our academy has a high number of people from ethnic backgrounds including an Asian background. Is it increasing? Yes it is. Is there more engagement? Most definitely.

"Ultimately the key thing is when you're looking at a player, you look at ability, and potential.

"I only ever think about these things when somebody asks me the question because at the end of the day they're just human beings."

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Advertising

Top Stories

Advertising

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News