MANILA, Philippines – It was 20 years ago when Phil Younghusband started playing football. His father taught him and his brother, James, the sport as “an excuse to use energy and run around.”
“My dad encouraged us to play. He’d bring me and my brother down to the park,” the 23-year-old striker said in an interview with abs-cbnNEWS.com.
Younghusband's love for football flourished since then. “When I turn the TV on, it would be a football game, and there was always my idol David Beckham,” the Filipino-British said.
Little did he know that he would become one of the most sought after football stars in the Philippine national football team.
Just like the Azkals, who surged to popularity after the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup and the AFC Challenge Cup group stage, Younghusband became an overnight sensation.
From then on, like any popular sports figure, Younghusband paved his own way to show business.
He has been guesting in TV shows and events, modeling for magazine covers and endorsing top products such as Collezione C2 and Blackberry Messenger. He also became one of the hottest items in the gossip world.
Younghusband, however, said, “it’s just being in the right place and in the right time.”
The Azkals heartthrob said that deep down, amidst the attention and adulation he has been receiving, football will remain to be his passion.
“You start thinking if this as your profession, and you work hard as good as you can be. And lucky for me and James, we were able to learn one of the biggest [sport] in the world,” he said.
Name: Philip James Placer Younghusband
Birthday: August 4, 1987
Position in the Azkals team: Striker
Favorite football player: Lionel Messi
Other hobbies: Hanging out with friends, going to cinemas
Other Leagues: Premier League, Danish League
What’s your most football memorable game so far?
The one in Bacolod (against Mongolia). It was in front of Filipino fans. It was so dramatic.
What’s the best thing about football?
I think it’s the fact that it has everything. It has controversy. It has drama, action. There’s no wrong or right and that’s the good thing about football. You can express yourself. In basketball, or in American football, the coach will tell you the (game play). Here in football, you are free to express yourself and do what you want.
What other sport/s do you play?
Tennis. I’d be like Roger Federer, a tennis player of something.
What would you have been doing if not football?
My dad is a senior accountant in London and I have a Mathematics degree… I’m good in Math. I will probably follow my dad’s footsteps and he was a partner in a company.