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    James Younghusband makes presence felt on midfield in return as an Azkals starter

    Mar 29, 2017
    James Younghusband makes the most of his rare start with the Azkals. Jaime Campos

    JAMES Younghusband made sure not to waste a rare opportunity with the Philippine football team as the Azkals ran through Nepal, 4-1, in the opener of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers.

    Dropped two years ago and rarely used since a return to the lineup last year, the veteran Azkals midfielder started for the first time in a long while after Kevin Ingreso suffered a hamstring injury two days before their home fixture. 

    He didn't disappoint.

    While his brother Phil made the headlines by notching a brace, the 30-year-old James ably filled the void left by Ingreso on the midfield, helping put pressure on Nepal.

    "I'm just happy to be part of the squad. I see that now I'm one of the oldest player in the squads but I just keep going and be there whenever the coach needs me," Younghusband said after his 81st appearance for the senior squad.

    "We've had a few injuries this week so I was given a chance, I really enjoyed being out there today," he added. 

    The start also comes as a big boost in morale for Younghusband with the Philippine Football League set to open in less than two months. 

    "I think it's a bit difficult. I'm technically not yet ready cause our league haven't started yet. Hopefully when the PFL starts we'll get up to speed cause we play once a week," Younghusband said. 

    "Me and my brother and some other players from other clubs are just looking forward for the season to start to get our match fitness. I think it helped, the Malaysia game, to get used to the speed."

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    James Younghusband makes the most of his rare start with the Azkals. Jaime Campos
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