Hrishi Anand looks at 5 Indian players to watch in the 2017-18 edition of the Indian Super League.
The 4th edition of the Indian Super League promises to be a fantastic campaign of football and a springboard for Indian football players to make a name for themselves. Here’s a look at 5 Indian players who will be looking to lead their respective teams forward towards achieving their goals.
Jeje Lalpekhlua // 26 // Chennaiyin FC // Striker
The dynamic forward from Mizoram has been a consistent performer in every ISL season so far and will be a key player for Chennaiyin FC. The diminutive attacker offers a real threat of pace and power up front and at the age of 26, is entering the prime of his career. Jeje also has an excellent record with the Indian national team scoring 17 goals on the international stage. Jeje showed excellent form in India’s recent AFC Cup Qualifiers chipping in with vital goals and great performances all round. Chennaiyin coach John Gregory will be hoping Jeje can replicate this form in the ISL as well.
Sandesh Jhingan // 24 // Kerala Blasters // Centre-Back
Sandesh Jhingan has enjoyed a meteoric rise in Indian football over the last couple of years. The intimidating centre back currently has the most appearances in ISL history with 41 and is a testimony to the positive role the ISL can play in the development of Indian football. Jhingan recently captained India in the Hero Tri-Nation Football Series. A complete defensive package, Jhingan combines his impressive physicality with positional awareness to cement his status as an assured starter for the Kerala Blasters. The man from Chandigarh is also potent at set-pieces so expect a few headed goals from him.
Udanta Singh // 21 // Bengaluru FC // Winger
Udanta may only be 21 years of age but his exploits for Bengaluru FC have been a sign of what the midfielder is capable of. Hailing from Manipur, Udanta was extremely important in Bengaluru’s I-League title and Federation Cup triumphs in his time at the club. Udanta usually plays as a right-winger and uses his pace and dribbling skills to devastating effect. He was also recently called up to the Indian National Team by Stephen Constantine which will do him no harm in fighting for a spot in Bengaluru FC’s starting eleven. Albert Roca will be looking to employ Udanta’s skills to the maximum in Bengaluru’s debut ISL Campaign.
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu // 25 // Bengaluru FC // Goalkeeper
One of the few Indian players with experience playing abroad, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu signed with Bengaluru FC after two years with Norwegian club Stabaek where he became the first ever Indian player to feature in the Europa League. While the goalkeeper may not have made as many appearances as he would have hoped, the two years of exposure to foreign training methods and football as a whole have aided his development as a player and individual. Gurpreet also had the distinction of captaining India in a few recent international fixtures. A good work ethic, assertive goalkeeping and well-trained reflexes are what set Gurpreet Singh Sandhu apart as a goalkeeper.
Lalrindika Ralte // 25 // NorthEast United FC // Midfielder
Lalrindika Ralte, also known as Dika, will be the primary creative force in midfield for Northeast United FC. Gifted with a potent left foot, Dika is more than capable of scoring a blinder from long-range. Recent stints with ATK and Mumbai City FC as well as consistently impressive showings in the I-League and Federation Cup will mean high expectations for Ralte to perform for a young and dynamice Northeast United side. The attacking midfielder will be tasked with both scoring goals and creating chances for his teammates.
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