ISL 2017: "I'll kick Berbatov as hard as I can," says Bengaluru FC defender John Johnson
Heading into what will be his and his team's first season in the Indian Super League, Bengaluru FC defender John Johnson is relishing some of the new battles that will come his way.
Known to be miserly at the back, the Englishman has always been a towering presence for his team. Bengaluru will heavily depend on his expertise in keeping opposition attackers at bay.
John though is looking forward to facing one forward in particular - Kerala Blasters' new star forward Dimitar Berbatov. The center back made a cheeky comment, explaining how he would stop the Bulgarian.
"Berbatov? I'll just kick him as hard as I can! No, but he's a fantastic player, he's played at the top level. I am sure he will be a great player for them. We must watch him closely especially around the box, he can be dangerous. But we'll be totally ready for him and he should be ready for us," he said.
John believes his team is well equipped to handle the pressures of the ISL. Unlike other squads who have been assembled just months ago, Bengaluru have the advantage of cohesiveness and team chemistry, two aspects that other teams might take time to develop. However, he was coy when asked if he reckons his side are favorites.
"We're a confident team and we know our limits as a squad. Whether we're favourites or not it's hard to judge, we have not seen any of the other teams. We don't know their strengths but we will be confident in our own game," he said.
Having bailed his side out on numerous occasions, the former Middlesbrough man will once again be tasked with keeping his back line watertight. John expects a number of physical battles this season but is well aware of what needs to be done.
In what will be his fourth season with the club, the defender has been part of Bengaluru FC ever since it was formed back in July 2013 and was one of their very first foreign recruits.
"Hopefully I become a nightmare for the ISL strikers as well, that'd be nice! It's a game where you have to instill your character on the pitch and I try to do it. There's the physical part of the game and that is why we enjoy it so much. Hopefully there will be some good challenges in the ISL as well," John signed off.