I played for Ninja Warrior and played with Rashford in Man Utd youth teams. Now I hope to play the old club in the FA Cup
OTIS KHAN once appeared on the hit ITV show Ninja Warrior UK.
And the Grimsby midfielder is hoping his side can overcome the next obstacle in Saturday’s FA Cup fourth round.
If the League Two Mariners get past Championship Luton, Khan will pray the draw will result in a dream clash with Manchester United.
Khan was a schoolboy in his youth team and spent ten years at United Academy.
But he suffered a heartbreak at 16 when his beloved Red Devils decided to let him go.
And 27-year-old Khan suffered more agony when he missed out on playing United – who meet Championship side Reading on Saturday night – when he played for Yeovil in 2017 after being sent off in a previous game.
He said: “Finger fingers if we beat Luton we will get United in the next round as I haven’t played them at any level since I left. I would want to play them at Old Trafford.
“We know Luton will be difficult to play, but we beat Plymouth, who are top of League One, in the third round – so we know we can do it.”
Raised in Manchester, Khan thought he would sign scholarship forms with the Old Trafford side after coming through their ranks.
But he suffered a major blow when he was told he was leaving after playing alongside Marcus Rashford in United’s youth teams.
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Khan said: “I was heartbroken and didn’t go to school for a week afterwards. I didn’t want to face anyone because everyone thought I was going to get a scholarship.
“Luckily I’ve managed to get over that and realize there are other clubs out there.”
Khan signed for Sheffield United before playing for Yeovil, Mansfield, Tranmere, Walsall and Leyton Orient.
He moved to Grimsby’s Blundell Park last summer and is enjoying life on Humberside to the fullest.
He said: “I thought I had a deal at Sunderland but that fell through so I went to Leyton Orient.
“The manager, Kenny Jackett, was fired two or three weeks after I arrived.
“The new boss, Richie Wellens, wanted to do things his way and wanted me off the books – but that’s football sometimes.”
He took part in Ninja Warrior UK in 2016, hosted by Ben Shephard, Chris Kamara and Rochelle Humes.
Khan recalls, “I was watching TV with my sister when a Ninja Warrior ad came on and she said I should apply for it.
If you’re good enough and you impress the right people, there will always be opportunities in football to make it.
“I had a good time and managed to reach the semifinals.”
Khan is also trying to improve his international credentials by playing for Pakistan.
His paternal grandfather, Jamil Khan, emigrated to the UK and he still has relatives in the city of Faisalabad.
Khan was first called up to the Pakistan national team aged 17 but visa complications and the country suspended by Fifa for third-party interference mean he has still not made his international debut.
He is now trying to get Pakistani citizenship so he can take part in the World Cup qualifiers that are taking place this year.
The lack of players of South Asian descent in professional football has long been a hot topic, with just 16 represented in England’s top four leagues.
And Khan has worked with PFA manager Riz Rehman on player involvement to help the next generation of footballers from this part of the world.
He is also in regular contact with United youngster Zidane Iqbal, who is of Pakistani and Iraqi descent, to offer his advice and guidance.
Khan said: “If you’re good enough and you impress the right people, there will always be opportunities to make it in football.”
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/7245805/otis-khan-ninja-warrior-grimsby-man-utd/ I played for Ninja Warrior and played with Rashford in Man Utd youth teams. Now I hope to play the old club in the FA Cup