I have learned a lot from playing in the ISL: Jhingan

I have learned a lot from playing in the ISL: Jhingan

I have learned a lot from playing in the ISL: Jhingan

Pitted against a formidable opponent in Oman in their opening game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, India is aware of the threat the visitors carry. But, defender Sandesh Jhingan believed that the team was up for the challenge.

“It will be a close fight. But, one needs to be realistic too,” said Jhingan on Tuesday.
“We know we will be without the ball for a long phase during the game. But, during the 2014 World Cup you saw Spain, who had most of the possession, lose to teams who didn’t. Having possession is one thing and making the most of it is another. And that’s something we will be looking for. When we get the ball, we hit them on the counter and score,” he said.

Apart from Oman, India is grouped along with Turkmenistan, Guam and Iran. Jhingan wanted to make the most of this opportunity. “It is a tough group. But I think if you want to win something big you should not be afraid. I relish such challenges. We need to believe in our abilities and our system. I think if we play to our strengths, no one can stop us,” he quipped. The 21-year-old from Chandigarh came to the national scene with his impressive show for Kerala Blasters during the Indian Super League (ISL). “Kerala Blasters has been a big bonus for me. At this age getting into ISL, I couldn’t ask for anything better,” he said.

“Playing alongside David James and Jamie McAllister, I have learned a lot. Their professionalism and the need for consistency, is something that I try to inculcate. And It’s not everyday that you get a chance to defend against the likes of (Alessandrso) Del Piero and (Robert) Pires,” he added.

Jhingan said I-League too has top quality football just like the lucrative ISL. “I think the only major difference is the individual brilliance. While, in the ISL, you have the likes of Pires and Del Piero, the I-League has a lot of Indian talent coming out. “Besides that, I think the pace at which the game is played and the level of competition is almost the same,” opined the defender.

A strong understanding between the goalkeeper and the centre-back plays a key role in the success of a team’s defence. The versatile defender believed that the Indian team is well placed in this department.

“Yes, it is an important factor. I think I have been lucky, having worked with a number of good keepers. In the Indian side too, Subrata (Paul) bhai has been really good. People like Subrata bhai, and now Gurpreet (Singh Sandhu) have been doing a really good job. With their positioning and also on the ball,” he said.

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