ISL 2017/18: Delhi Dynamos' U17 star Shubham Sarangi hopes to play in Europe one day
While India's U17starshave been dazzling in the I-League, the cash-rich ISL has mostly been a place for the top players from India and abroad. However, a few young players have managed to make it to the main squad of the ISL teams.
Delhi Dynamos' recent acquisition Shubham Sarangi also happens to be one of the youngest members of their squad, which points at an attempt to build for the future. In fact, the Dynamos are taking it a step further, as they have put plans in place to send the 17-year-old to train at the Aspire Academy in Qatar for a four-month stint.
In fact, Sarangi is set to leave for Qatar this week, to leave for Qatar on Sunday. Sportskeeda caught up with the Delhi Dynamos youngster ahead of his departure. Here are some excerpts from our conversation with him.
Q: How much does this opportunity to train at the Aspire Academy mean to you?
A: It’s a really good opportunity. They have really good coaches, top facilities; everything is really good over there. I’ll learn a lot over there, and work hard to become a better footballer.
I want to read the game better, and play better as well. So of course, I want to improve both tactically and technically as well.
I still have a number of years on my side. I have to keep working hard and earn my chance. After the Aspire, I want to show what I am capable of, and when I get my chance, I’ll try to cement my place as a regular player in the ISL.
Q: We've seen a huge surge in the popularity of football after the FIFA U17 World Cup. How have young players like yourself benefited from this?
A: These type of tournaments should happen on a more regular basis. The U17 World Cup is a very big tournament, and it was a big opportunity for India.
We got so much exposure due to the World Cup. It's not just the player who benefits. It helps to bring the country together to watch football, and any youth who is interested in the game can also take up football.
Q: Delhi Dynamos gave you your first professional contract this year. How has the experience been, training with the ISL players?
A: When you start playing football, it’s a dream to play for a club that is in the topmost league in India. Its an absolute dream come true for me. Now that I have got the chance, I have to grab it with both my hands.
Football changes as we grow up. In the AIFF Elite Academy also, we used to play matches, and the same here as well. But now I am getting to play alongside more experienced players, like those who have played in the senior world cups.
Being able to train with them is a new experience for me, and I hope this helps me become a better player in the future. They all have different playing styles, and I get to learn from everyone.
All the players like me because I’m the youngest of the lot. They all share their experiences with me after training. They always keep giving me some tips on how to become a better player.
Q: Speaking of young players, Lallianzuala Chhangte has been on top form. What do make of his success at the club?
A: He has done very well. I think he scored a goal against Bengaluru, one of the toughest teams in the tournament. He just needs to keep playing the way he has been, and he could turn out to be a good player for Delhi and the national team.
Q: The Indian Arrows have also shown a lot of promise in the I-League. How do you gauge their performance so far?
A: All the junior players right now have quality. At this age, we are all still learning. We’re not completely professional as of yet. But we are playing against the professionals. So we need to keep learning, and maybe in a couple of years. That will help us get to that level.
Q: Lastly, which is your favourite club, and where would you like to play, if you were given a chance to play in Europe?
A: My favourite club is Manchester United, but if I get a chance to play anywhere in Europe, I would love to grab that opportunity with both hands.
Just like all of you watch European football, I also watch a lot of the game, and I would love to get a chance to play there. I am quite confident about this, and if I do get a chance in the future, I would love to play in Europe.