Zimbabwe: Teenage Star in Line for Wembley Show

AFTER making his dream first team appearance, at Old Trafford on Tuesday night, teenage midfielder, Tawanda Maswanhise, could be in line for a Wembley appearance, on Saturday, in the FA Cup final.

The 18-year-old was given a place in the Leicester City Match Day squad, for the Foxes' league match against Manchester United, in a massive show of faith, in his talent, by manager Brendan Rodgers.

The Foxes won 2-1, against a vastly-changed United side, which had 10 changes from the team which beat Marvelous Nakamba's Aston Villa 3-1, at Villa Park, on Sunday.

Although he spent the entire night on the substitutes' bench, Maswanhise will be encouraged by the giant step, which he has taken, in his young football career.

The highly-rated midfielder is the son of former top Zimbabwe sprinter, Jeffrey Maswanhise, who represented the country at the All-Africa Games and the Commonwealth Games, between 1998 and 2002.

He is eligible to play for England, when it comes to his senior international career, even though his father has said he would also be open to represent the Warriors.

If he is drafted, into the Leicester first team, for the FA Cup final showdown against Chelsea on Saturday, it will mark another special chapter in the career of the teenager.

Old Trafford, known as the Theatre of Dreams, is the biggest club football ground in England.

Wembley is the national stadium where England play their matches.

It has been a stunning transformation for Maswanhise who, not so long ago, was earning just £145 per week, according to salarysport.com, an authoritative website, which tracks the salaries of sportspersons.

As a youngster, developing in the Foxes system, he was earning about £7,540 per year.

However, all that changes, given he is being considered for first team duties and, on the bench on Tuesday night, he was in the company of James Madison, who earns about £5,72 million,, per year, and £110 000, a week.

Jamie Vardy is the club's highest-paid player, on a contract which earns him £7.28 million, per year, and about £140 000, per week.

Three months ago, Maswanhise gave notice of his progress, in the Leicester City Under-18 side, where he recently scored his first goal for the 2020-21 season.

He found the back of the nets, for the first time this season, in the Foxes' 3-3 draw against Fulham before making two assists in the dramatic 4-3 victory over Norwich City at LCFC Training Ground.

On a night for teenagers, on Tuesday, Manchester United fielded 19-year-old Anthony Elanga, who was born in Sweden.

Elanga's father is from Cameroon and played for the Indomitable Lions.

There was also a place, in the United team, for 18-year-old Ivorian forward, Ahmad Diallo, who played 76 minutes of the game.

Another teenager, Luke Thomas (19), scored his first Premiership goal for Leicester, a beauty struck on the volley, to give the Foxes the lead.

"Unbelievable!" Thomas told LCFC TV.

"We're all buzzing in there. Coming to Old Trafford, there's no better feeling than to play here, so to come away with three points is even better and obviously to get my first [Premier League] goal, I'm over the moon!

"Obviously, coming to Old Trafford, it's one of the best stadiums in the world, so to get a goal here is unbelievable and I don't think I have scored a better goal than that to be perfectly honest! I don't score a lot.

"For a defender, there's no better feeling than scoring a goal . . . we don't get many do we, so when you get one it's a great feeling.

"We're now looking forward to Saturday. It's a massive win today (Tuesay), but we've got a big game and we've got to get back and get recovery in and look at Saturday."

If Rodgers had thrown Maswanhise into the fray, on Tuesday night, he would have emulated former Warriors captain, Benjani Mwaruwari, who made his Manchester City debut, against the Red Devils.

Benjani scored the winning goal, on February 10, 2008, glancing the header home, and has since revealed that goal transformed him, overnight, into a City hero.

"That is the kind of a game that you don't forget until you die," Benjani told our sister newspaper, The Sunday Mail.

"That single goal in the Manchester derby changed everything for me. I became an instant hero, remember this was my debut for City and scoring in such a big game was no mean feat.

"When I arrived at City I didn't know the history associated with the Manchester derby in terms of head to head clashes.

"I only realised I had done something big when journalists started talking about that victory being the first for City at Old Trafford since 1974.

"It made me famous, the fans accepted me, and players embraced me. Sometimes you are not that good as a player but if you work hard you can achieve your goals.

"After that match, the club even assigned bodyguards to protect me for two weeks as they feared something bad could happen to me."

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