Hamza Choudhury

Hamza Choudhury: To & 'Fro

As a celebrated son of Leicestershire and a firm fans’ favourite, Hamza Choudhury is easy to spot as he strolls down a bustling high street, arriving early to sit down with LCFCQ, the Club's official quarterly magazine.

The unmistakable afro, a trademark of his look since his formative teenage years, ensures that the Loughborough-born midfielder isn’t too difficult to recognise.

Back in Hamza’s academy days, scouts pointed out the ‘lad with the afro’ before consulting their teamsheet, a phenomenon repeated by supporters of opposition clubs in past seasons.

Now a star of the first team, the crunching tackles, the never-say-die attitude and, of course, the hair have all contributed to Hamza becoming a popular figure with the Club’s supporters.

“I just don’t like getting my hair cut to be honest,” he laughs, sat in the L’Homme gentleman’s grooming lounge. “Obviously when you don’t get your hair cut for many years, it gets long!

“I wanted to keep my hair long when I was younger, but my mum used to drag me to the hairdressers so it’s a bit traumatising being here now. Now I’m older I have more of a say over my hair!”

Whether by accident or design, Hamza’s trim has achieved the kind of recognisability craved by young players forging a path in the competitive surroundings of the Premier League.

It was a full house and I’ve got plenty of cousins and siblings so it was nice, there was a lot of life in the house!

Hamza Choudhury LCFCQ

Now an England Under-21s star and one of four Academy graduates to have recently played for Leicester’s first team, Hamza is very much a success story for the Football Club.

The fans spotted an authenticity to his playing style early on and his love for Leicester City is obvious to anyone who has seen him rampaging through midfield for the Foxes.

It’s a bond which dates back 15 years to the first day a seven-year-old Hamza walked into Belvoir Drive after choosing Leicester City over local rivals Nottingham Forest in 2005.

The support of a large, loving household spurred Hamza on to become the only person of South Asian origin living in England – out of 4M – to currently play in the Premier League.

Hamza, whose father is from Grenada, but whose mother and stepfather are Bangladeshi, remembers his home life fondly and attributes his success so far to their supportive counsel. 

“My family life was really good, I have a massive family,” he adds. “It was a full house and I’ve got plenty of cousins and siblings so it was nice, there was a lot of life in the house!

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Hamza Choudhury
Hamza Choudhury

Hamza gets a trim at L’Homme gentleman’s grooming lounge.

“We’re quite a sporty family and very competitive so, from a young age, I was getting involved with sports and developing a winning mentality, even then.

“I think they all played various sports away from school. They played everything! Mainly badminton or football and my two little brothers play in Sunday league as well.

“I went to an open day at Loughborough University and then, from there, I played for Loughborough FC.

“I got scouted at the end of that season by Forest and Leicester. You often go on a few open days at that age because you want to see what’s out there.

“It came to making a decision and both myself and my family really liked Leicester. It was a family club and they made me feel really welcome.”

There’s a tale which was once exclusively told in the corridors of the Club’s training ground but, following Hamza’s emergence, has now appeared in the country’s leading newspapers.

It came to making a decision and both myself and my family really liked Leicester. It was a family club and they made me feel really welcome.

Hamza Choudhury LCFCQ

When he was just seven-years-old and still settling into his new surroundings at Belvoir Drive, coaches once had to apologise to parents for Hamza’s ‘robust’ challenges on other boys.

He remembers it well and has his excuses prepared: “I was just a bit bigger than some of the lads my age so I think they noticed it! I used to go crazy, running around the place!”

Looking back more generally on those carefree days, playing for the fun of it rather than with a grand stratagem to achieve stardom, Hamza admits it was a special period in his life.

“I was in the system at Leicester around the age of seven onwards and, from there, it’s just been Leicester all the way,” he continues.

“It feels sometimes like it’s gone so quickly but also I can’t remember anything else. It’s nice to have been at the same club for so long, especially Leicester.

“It’s such a well-run and welcoming place to be and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”

Now an established first team player at his hometown club, Hamza struggles to find the words to do justice to the pride he feels whenever he pulls on a Leicester City shirt.

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Hamza Choudhury
Hamza Choudhury

Choudhury has gone from academy hopeful to first team star at Leicester City.

“There’s such a small amount of people who go on to play for their hometown club, especially a club like Leicester,” he says, receiving the most precise of trims to his afro.

“It’s so nice that the fans are so supportive of me and I notice it whenever I play. At the ground and in and around town, it makes you feel like you’ve really done something to be proud of.”

Adulthood brings its landmark moments and Hamza recently became a father to a little girl. For those at the Club who watched him mature into a man, it was an immensely proud moment.

“She’s an amazing little girl,” he says, beaming. “She’s just so cute and it has changed my life. People say they can’t wait for them to grow up and I’m the same, but I don’t want to wish that time away either. She’s an angel and I’m really enjoying being a dad.”

Juggling family duties with the rigours of first team training at a Premier League club can be challenging, but Hamza can’t help but get excited when the topic of conversation moves to the future of Leicester City.

It’s especially the case with our group of lads because we’re a young team – and even the older boys – everyone wants to improve and work towards the long-term vision.

Hamza Choudhury LCFCQ

Since the appointment of manager Brendan Rodgers in February 2019, the Northern Irishman has began to build upon a vision to take the Foxes to the next level – with youthful talent at its heart.

“He’s been really good with me personally,” Hamza reveals. “He has spoken to me and pulled me aside to tell me what he likes about my game and what I can do to improve.

“I know that I’m still young so I’m sure more game time will come and I’m enjoying training, being a part of it, so hopefully when I impress in training, I can be a part of it on the pitch.

“When the appointment was made, everyone was excited before he even came in. He’s a massive name in football and coached some of the best players in the world. To have someone like that come in and work with you one-on-one, it’s something to be excited about.

“It’s especially the case with our group of lads because we’re a young team – and even the older boys – everyone wants to improve and work towards the long-term vision.”

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