Indian starlet Suraj Sharma hopes to become a role model for young Asian footballers, after being handed an extended trial at Rovers’ Academy.
The 17-year-old striker was invited to showcase his talents with the club’s youth team by Rovers’ global advisor Shebby Singh.
Suraj, who lives in London, had been playing semi-professional football for Camberley Town and Indian Gymkhana, who were recently crowned the UK Asian Championship winners following a 7-0 success in the final at Celtic Park.
Now based at Brockhall, the young forward hopes to make the most of his opportunity and earn a permanent contract with the club.
“As soon as I came down, it was just a whole different experience,” said Suraj. “There are so many people here, professional footballers everywhere and the main thing was that everyone was so nice.
“I’ve never experienced something like this before, because I’ve always played in the lower leagues, but I think I’ve handled it well and the people around me have made it so much easier.
“Talent and hard work is all you need, so if I can show that then hopefully I can sign on the dotted line.”
Suraj, who only took up football 18 months ago, hopes that by getting his big break he could become a forerunner for other young Asian footballers to follow in his footsteps.
“That’s one of the reasons why I’m here – to bring a name out for Asian people, because I don’t think they get the same opportunities to play football,” he added.
“I want to be an idol for people if I can. I’m not saying I will be, but I just want to try my hardest and if I get it, I’ll be the happiest guy in the world.”