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Former Arsenal and Spurs man Rohan Ricketts plays down his first I-League goal


File Photo: Rohan Ricketts (foreground)

When former Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur man Rohan Ricketts signed for Indian champions Dempo in the summer, the 29-year-old was expected to take the I-League by storm.

But the former England youth international hasn’t been a regular in the team due his differences with Dempo coach Armando Colaco, who shockingly recently admitted that he wasn’t even aware about Ricketts’ actual position when he was signed.

However, injuries to Koko Sakibo and Clifford Miranda saw Ricketts start only for the third time in the I-League against Salgaocar last weekend and the former Wolves player opened the scoring in that game to net his first-ever I-League goal.

“Well it’s pretty normal (scoring first I-League goal) for me. The important thing is I could contribute to the team’s cause and help them win. Although in previous games I have been coming off the bench, I have had an impact as a substitute also and could have scored in earlier matches but was denied by the goalkeepers,” Ricketts told Sportskeeda.

The Arsenal youth product admitted that playing in his favourite role, behind the striker, brought the best out of him and added that physically he also feels a lot better than when he had arrived.

“Yes that’s my preferred position so I was very comfortable playing there. As long as the team keeps the ball on the ground and looks to pass, I have no problems. I have also been working a lot on my fitness as I have been doing certain sessions on my own separately and yes I feel a lot better physically,” he added.

Despite being mostly used as an impact player from the bench, Ricketts looks to be enjoying his football and has also been producing some moments of individual brilliance, like the nutmeg on Mohun Bagan’s Rakesh Masih in Dempo’s 3-0 win.

But he revealed that there has been no change in his relation with Colaco, although his form on the pitch hasn’t been affected by it.

“Nothing really has changed between him (Colaco) and me. He comes to training, I train and then when he gives me the chance, I play. Last match I think I started because we had so many injuries. Look, I am a professional and I share a good rapport with the players as well, so I just look to do my job,” he stated.

Ricketts, who has named after the legendary West Indies cricketer Rohan Kanhai, added that in future if he is not given a chance to play for ‘non-footballing’ reasons, then it’s more of a problem for Dempo than him.

“I just want to play whether it’s from the bench or if I start then even better. My aim is not to prove him (Colaco) wrong but to help my team. However, if I am kept on the bench or not even in the squad for reasons that are not related to football, then it’s a situation for the club actually because they are the ones who have given me a contract.”

Going into round ten, Dempo lead the I-League table, one point clear of East Bengal and three ahead of Churchill Brothers and Ricketts believes it’s a three-horse title race for now.

“I haven’t watched some of the teams yet but yes it looks like it’s between the three of us. East Bengal are a strong team and Churchill play some nice stuff too,” he concluded.

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