The likes of Michael Soosairaj, Sahal Abdul Samad, Jackichand Singh, and several others benefitted from the playing time the ISL provides and also got a chance to showcase their talent on the national stage.
In fact, at the start of this season, FC Goa, a side that relinquished their attacking options, have opted to give younger players a chance with several youngsters signing for the club.
Let's look at a few youngsters who are expected to come good for their teams this season.
1) Ishan Pandita
22-year-old Ishan Pandita is perhaps the most promising among all the youngsters in the ISL ranks this season. Having played in Spain with Lorca FC, Pandita has been signed by FC Goa for the upcoming season.
In fact, the 22-year old will also become an important member of the side following the exits of Coro, Hugo Boumous, and even Ahmed Jahouh.
While there will certainly be pressure on him to perform, Pandita will be one of the young players who is given a run in the starting XI by coach Juan Ferrando. The youngster is also on the radar of the Indian football team and is widely viewed as a Sunil Chhetri's successor.
2) Phrangki Buam
19-year-old Phrangki Buam is already somewhat of a superstar in Shillong. Having played in the junior divisions and both divisions of the I-League, Buam is someone who literally guarantees goals whenever he plays.
So far, Buam has played for Shillong Lajong in the I-League and FC Bengaluru United in the 2nd division of the I-League.
This season, Buam finds himself in the FC Goa unit. While many might consider him to be a fringe player of sorts, the 19-year-old may well be handed a few caps this season as Juan Ferrando looks to reinforce his depleted attacking unit with young talent.
3) Vikram Pratap Singh
At 18, Vikram Pratap Singh has already made a name for himself in the grand narrative of Indian football. In spite of being left out of the team for the U-17 World Cup in 2017, the young forward proved his worth when he became a regular for the Indian Arrows in 2018 in his first season in the I-League.
In the context of the ISL, the 18-year-old has reportedly signed a deal with Mumbai City FC and is expected to be a fringe player in their squad. Given that Mumbai City FC have added to their attacking lineup with Hugo Boumos and Mandar Rao Dessai, Vikram Pratap Singh may very well become the 'super-sub' for the Mumbai side in the upcoming season.
4) Rahul KP
From the outset, it would seem as though 21-year-old Rahul KP is the answer to the Kerala Blasters's attacking problems. The youngster recently signed a contract extension with the club, keeping him with the Blasters until the end of the 2024 season.
Having joined the club in 2019, Rahul KP has become an important figure on the Kerala Blaster's bench. In fact, he has come off the bench on several occasions and also scored in a 2-1 loss against Mumbai City FC. A lot will be expected from the youngster this season, to say the least.
5) Lara Sharma
21-year-old Lara Sharma has been viewed by many as Gurpreet Singh Sandhu's successor. The youngster recently signed a three-year deal with Bengaluru FC following a largely successful stint with ATK.
Following the amalgamation of ATK and Mohun Bagan, the youngster was eventually signed by the Blues as the club looks to replicate their success from the 2018-19 title-winning season.
The youngster is a product of the Tata Football Academy, a famed academy that has produced superstars in the ISL such as Udanta Singh. The 21-year old has also been a part of the Indian U1-8 side that lifted the SAFF Championship in 2017.Published 09 Oct 2020, 15:07 IST