‘ISL will see a player emerge - like Virat Kohli of Indian football’
Kolkata, 12th November 2017 : The fact that Hero Indian Super League teams will have to field at least six Indian players has been lauded by foreign coaches, saying that the tweak in the rule in this season will help develop local players. Until last season, Hero ISL teams could play a maximum of six foreigners, but the latest rule will, according to Jamshedpur FC head coach Steve Coppell, "add extra responsibility on Indian players to perform and develop." A point echoed by fellow English head coaches Teddy Sheringham (ATK) and John Gregory (Chennaiyin FC) that the rule will help the development of Indian players.
"I think it's agood decision to have six Indians on the pitch at all times and it meansIndians getting more chances to play and show their skills," said theformer Man United legend Sheringham here at the Hero ISL Media Day at Kolkata. "Wedon't have a marquee signing this year but you will see that we have investedour money in young Indians who will not just come on for 10 minutes, but willform an integral part of my squad this season," explained Gregory. NortheastUnited's head coach João Carlos Pires de Deus was one among many who werepleasantly surprised with the quality of Indian footballers they've worked withso far.
The Portuguese wasimpressed with his observations, and has already done extensive research onIndian sides, having watched lot of matches as he prepares to step into theunknown. "You ask me if the Brazilians in my team will produce magic...but what is magic? It's not limited to Brazilians. Even the Indian players inour team are very skillful and can produce a lot of magic. You see the kid withblonde hair in the U17 World Cup team (Komal Thatal) and he was producingmagic. So it's not limited to a nationality," he said.
"Rubbingshoulders with top players has made a huge difference to Indian footballers.You see them play with marquee signings and come up against top class forwardsand midfielders and it automatically builds their confidence and the game. Yousee these foreigners and how they carry themselves and take care of their bodyand the Indian players get inspired by that. The Hero ISL has played a hugerole in this development," said Coppell, who is now into his second seasonin ISL
"Thefacilities, the coaching style, the technicalities all play a role and havemade me a better player. For example, our coach wants to see me come out of thebox and play as a sweeper sometimes and keep the ball down," goalkeeperAlbino Gomes said, speaking about how his team Delhi Dynamos' head coach MiguelAngel Portugal is bringing subtle changes to his game.
"The Hero ISLwill eventually see a player emerge - someone like the Virat Kohli of Indianfootball - who will then carry the team in the future and inspire youngsters toplay the sport. The development of youngsters is very important for anycountry's progress in a sport and this league will help in that," Portugalsaid. The Hero ISL kicks off on November 17 with a high-profileclash between Kerala Blasters and ATK at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi.