Neil Taylor is one of two Asian players currently in the Premier League. He plays for Aston Villa, has earned over 40 caps for Wales at the international level, and represented Great Britain at the 2012 London Olympics.
His mother is Bengali but born in India, and his father is Welsh: whilst eligible for both, he chose to play for Wales. Neil played every minute of the 2016 Euros, as Wales reached the semi-final for the first time in history. He also played at the Olympics, helping Team GB to progress into the knockout stages.
Taylor is committed to helping other Asians reach the same heights he has. He believes one of the reasons for this lack of representation is a hyper-focus on education by South Asian parents, in which dreams of becoming a footballer are pushed aside in favour of grades and a career.
He also believes there is a vicious cycle in play, and advocates for a change in mentality. Taylor states young Asians believe they won’t get the opportunity to progress due to the lack of representation, or won’t be seen. As such, they do not dedicate themselves to a career in football, which means the lack of representation continues, and the next group of young players feel the same way. However, he does hope that his example can inspire other young players to break past this barrier.
Taylor’s full comments on the lack of British Asian Premier League players: https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/swanseas-neil-taylor-still-only-6827657
Neil Taylor discussing the importance of schools in tackling racism: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/av/football/53062173