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ISL 2016: Marquee Players and what they add to their teams

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5.67K   //    30 Sep 2016, 20:05 IST

Aaron Hughes

The ISL 2016 begins on the 1st October and the excitement already seems to be on the boil. While all teams have re-shuffled, there is a lot to look forward to in terms of football on the field. New coaches in the form of Gianluca Zambrotta and Jose Francisco Molina will grace the technical lines and would be expected to rally their teams to victory.

Amidst all the hullabaloo, there are a handful of players who have slightly higher responsibilities than their counterparts. With the tag of marquee player bestowed on them, these players would be expected to not just play good football, but also to inspire and lead the team from the front.

Let’s take a look at the 7 (post-Eidur Gudjohnson’s injury) marquee players and what they can contribute to their respective sides.

#1 Aaron Hughes – Kerala Blasters FC

When a team has conceded more goals than they’ve scored in an entire tournament, there’s surely something wrong with the defence and Steve Coppell has catered to that. The team, owned by god-like cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, has signed Northern Irish defender Aaron Hughes as their marquee player for the 3rd season of ISL.

Kerala Blasters, last season, scored 22 goals while there defence was shattered a record 27 times, the most in the league. Kerala Blasters had a forgettable tournament last season and ended at the bottom of the league table.

The defender has played for various Premier League clubs like Aston Villa, Newcastle United FC and Fulham and has made 455 appearances without earning a red card, which speaks volumes of his discipline. Known to be an astute defender who is good in the air, Hughes can play as a right-back or a defensive midfielder as well.

The defender has unquestionable international experience, donning the national jersey a record 103 times. With Sandesh Jhingan, Hughes is expected to be the cornerstone of a team which has been defensively porous last season. If Hughes becomes a stand-out performer, Kerala Blasters FC could replicate its form of first season, where they reached the finals.

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