A FORMER Manchester United wonderkid who Erik ten Hag called “f***ing rubbish” during an open training session was sent-off for swinging a wild elbow last night.
Zidane Iqbal, 20, became a favourite with supporters after his displays at youth level throughout his 15 years at the club.
But he found himself back in the headlines last night while representing his country Iraq in the King’s Cup semi-final showdown with India.
Only this time it was for all of the wrong reasons.
The score was 2-2 as India took a short corner during the closing seconds of the clash in Thailand.
Rival Brandon Fernandes soon had possession around 30 yards from goal when Iqbal, who had appeared from the bench at half time, raced over to close him down.
The United academy product tussled with the ace before his arm appeared to smash into Fernandes’s face, leaving his foe rolling on the floor in apparent agony clutching his head.
The referee came straight over and not only issued a free-kick, but he also gave Iqbal his marching orders.
The star was furious as he made his way off the pitch, however, his team-mates were still able to go on to reach the final of the competition as they held their nerve to triumph 5-4 in the penalty shoot-out.
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Iqbal made his debut for United in the Champions League group stage clash against Young Boys in December 2021, making history as the first British South Asian to play for Man Utd.
But we reported last year how Ten Hag, who had just taken charge after leaving Ajax, was caught on camera blasting the star during a training drill on a pre-season tour.
The Dutchman appeared to call Iqbal “f***ing rubbish” during a recent training session as he lost possession of the ball during a drill.
And after another pass was punted upfield, he was also overheard screaming at another player: “What the f*** are you doing?”
Upon his departure from the club, Iqbal said this summer: “Manchester United has been my home since I was 5 years old.
“I have so many incredible memories of my 15 years associated with his amazing club… There are too many people to thank.
“The Academy is a special place that makes dreams come true for so many. That was certainly the case for me.
“I’ll never forget standing on the touchline at the Theatre of Dreams waiting to come on for my debut. That feeling of pride will live with me forever.”
He added: “I’ll always be a United fan and i’ll always love this football club.
“The time is right to go and take on a new challenge… This is a perfect opportunity and I cannot wait to get started.”
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