ISL 2017: Jeje Lalpekhlua is a lot like Alan Shearer, says Chennaiyin FC coach John Gregory
John Gregory is an Englishman through and through. The new Chennaiyin FC coach has made over 600 appearances in his senior football career, plying his trade for the likes of Aston Villa and Bolton Wanderers to name a few.
He then successfully transitioned from player to coach, managing teams in the top tier of English football like Derby County, QPR and Aston Villa. It's safe to say, Gregory has conversed with and observed hundreds of English footballers over the course of his 28-year coaching stint.
Ahead of the ISL 2017 season, Chennai were comparatively quiet in the transfer department compared to other teams. However, like last season, their outcomes in front of goal will heavily depend on how their star forward, Jeje Lalpekhlua performs on the pitch. Having watched a lot of English football, Gregory reckons Jeje is similar to former Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United legend, Alan Shearer.
"Jeje just likes to score, he doesn't care how he scores. Alan Shearer didn't care how he scored either. I mean he scored goals from 30 yards, but he also scores goals from 30 inches. When Jeje comes out of a game and he hasn't scored, then he gets a bit disappointment. He has the same attitude as Alan Shearer," he explained.
Despite the massive experience, John's stint now in India is a culture shock in many ways. Chennai's coach admits that communicating with the players from different nationalities is sometimes an issue due to language.
"Sometimes, trying to get across your ideas is tough. I have four boys in the national team who play with Stephen Constantine, who plays them slightly different than I would. This week they're working with Stephen, next week with me. That is always a problem, it's unusual for the players. If you're right-handed and you're asked to write left-handed, it's a bit strange!" he said.
Understanding ideas and thoughts becomes a slight problem for both the coach and the players, who come from different parts of the world. But John reckons at times, it's even more difficult to communicate the same ideas with some English players, who he labeled as 'stupid'
"You suddenly want them to do things they've never done before. Language is sometimes a problem too. You sometimes have to repeat yourself two or three times. But listen, I did that with English players too! Some English players are so stupid!, you actually have to tell them 4-5 times anyway. So it's no different," he stated.