THE son of a Darwen footballer who once turned out for Pakistan has signed a scholarship with Preston North End.

Left-sided player Izac Khan, 15, was snapped up by North End after having been released by Stoke City.

Izac is the son of Jimmy Khan who was first overseas player to be called up to play for the Pakistani national team.

Jimmy said Izac had been playing at academy level since he was six.

He said: “He has played at Manchester United and Manchester City and then spent six years at Stoke.

“When they released him, we approached Preston and after a two-week trial they could see his potential and talent. Due to him being under the age of 16 he was offered a scholarship. 

“During the next two years he will have to put more work in. He has a good attitude and hopefully this will lead somewhere.”

Jimmy said: “He has been playing within an academy structure from a young age which has helped. Whilst he should be playing the under 16s he has been turning out in an older age group.

“The two-year scholarship is really beneficial as he gets to play football and study at the same time.

“I would say he is a much better player than I was. He is certainly a lot quicker!

“It is a massive effort for families and for kids to get to this level and requires a lot of hard work on everyone’s part.

“He has good support from his two siblings, parents and grandparents. This is always important for youngsters.”

The family now live in Manchester but Jimmy, now 58, is proud of his Darwen roots. Jimmy played for Blackburn Rovers as a teenager before spells at Bury and in Finland.

In 1989 played for the Pakistani national team in the Italia ’90 World Cup Qualifiers. When he returned to the UK he said football was not something that was going to pay the bills.

“I am Darwen born and bred. We still have strong links with the town and Blackburn.

“Much of my football was very much what we learnt on the streets. There was no academy structure. I remember my dad saying it was time to get a proper job.

“I then mostly played for semiprofessional clubs such as Clitheroe and Darwen.”