SC East Bengal are in the middle of preparations for their first season of ISL football, and as with everything about the club, the buzz has been like little else in Indian Football. At the moment, the man giving the East Bengal fans most reason to be excited about is Irish attacking player, Anthony Pilkington.
Pilkington has joined his former Wigan Athletic team-mate Danny Fox in making the move from Lancashire to India.
Having played in the Premier League for Norwich City between 2011 and 2013, Pilkington has the experience of playing at the highest level, and that will be invaluable for the ISL's newest entrants.
Pilkington had stints in his youth career with three clubs in the Lancashire county in the United Kingdom, playing for Preston North End, Blackburn Rovers and Manchester United.
However, Pilkington had to wait to make his competitive debut in professional football, which happened with Stockport County in 2008-09 in League One, the third tier of English Football.
Before that, he also played non-league football for Atheron Collieries AFC, in the Northern Premier League.
Pilkington's big break, though, came during his stint with Huddersfield Town, which was a productive couple of years for the Irishman.
He had impressed so much at Huddersfield that Norwich City gave him his big Premier League break, signing him in the summer of 2011, ahead of their first campaign back in the top-flight after securing promotion.
East Bengal star Pilkington established himself at Premier League level
Pilkington played three full seasons in the Premier League, during which he established himself as a firm starter for Norwich City under different managers, after he had been signed by Paul Lambert.
Pilkington 75 Premier League appearances for Norwich, and scored 14 goals fo the Canaries in that period.
In 2012-13, Pilkington scored a memorable goal for Norwich against Manchester United at Carrow Road - a winner in a 1-0 win for Chris Hughton's side that day. Pilkington has also scored Premier League goals against Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City in his career.
However, after Norwich were relegated from the Premier League at the end of the 2013-14 season, Pilkington made the switch to the Welsh capital, as he signed for Cardiff City.
He spent five season with the Bluebirds, making 103 appearances for them. However, he could not achieve promotion back into the Premier League for Cardiff City.
Before joining East Bengal, Pilkington plied his trade for Wigan Athletic, who were relegated from the Championship last season. Even though they had won enough points on the pitch to escape relegation, the club's financial irregularities meant that they went into administration and were docked points for it.
Pilkington also was capped nine times at international level, by the Republic of Ireland. He was given his international debut in 2012 by the then Irish manager Giovanni Trappatoni.
With Pilkington now moving to India to ply his trade with East Bengal under the Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler, he is sure to be one of the more important players for the Red and Gold brigade in their debut ISL season.Published 11 Nov 2020, 18:45 IST