In the last few years, Nishu Kumar has become an integral member of the Indian football team, after a few strong performances for Bengaluru FC shirt in the Indian Super League. The 23-year-old has made the left full-back spot his own. Nishu Kumar has now joined Kerala Blasters for the upcoming season.
Initially viewed as a replacement for the departing Sandesh Jhingan, the youngster will be looking at leadership roles within the Blasters' side as well. Nishu Kumar spoke to Sportskeeda in an exclusive interview.
Q. You spent five years with Bengaluru FC and made multiple appearances playing at full-back. How difficult was it for you to leave the club that gave you your big break?
Nishu Kumar: I think I joined the right club to start my professional career. Having trained with some big names in Indian football, I have learned a lot at Bengaluru FC. They played a very important role in what I am today. Hence, leaving the club after 5 golden years was not an easy decision to make.
However, as an individual, I have always focused on taking up new challenges and constantly improving myself. I hope to learn more and look forward to reaching newer heights with Kerala Blasters.
Q. After Sandesh Jhingan left, you have now become the face of the club. How does it feel to be someone like that?
Nishu Kumar: Jhingan bhai is a warrior, one of the best defenders in India at the moment and I have always looked up to him. As a professional footballer, I aim to give more than 100% on the field, both in training and matches. It is a result of my hard work, blessings of God, and the support of my family & well-wishers that I am here with Kerala Blasters today. Going forward, I only want to give my best for the club in the upcoming season.
Q. You recently made your debut for India and scored a goal against Jordan. What was the feeling to play for India for the first time?
Nishu Kumar: Playing for your nation is a dream come true moment for any player. Scoring a goal against Jordan made it complete and the perfect debut. I thank God for this opportunity, and hope to perform well on the field for more chances in the future to represent my country.
Q. Are you more comfortable playing as a right-back or left-back?
Nishu Kumar: I love playing on both flanks. Though if I have to choose, I am slightly more comfortable playing on the right.
Q. The last two seasons, you have been a mainstay at left-back. Do you expect the same from Kerala Blasters?
Nishu Kumar: The last two seasons have been my personal best in the past 5 years. Going forward, I only aim to improve further. As footballers, we have to constantly adapt to different situations and demands of the coach’s game plan.
For me, the team comes first before my individual preference. Hence, I’m comfortable even if I don’t get to play in my favourite position. Should the team require me in a different role, I’ll be happy to adapt and play for the ultimate success of the group. I only hope to give my best out to the team.
Q. You are a full-back who likes to get into the thick of the action in the attack. How important is scoring goals for you?
Nishu Kumar: Scoring goals is a bonus for any defender, and I practice shooting even during training sessions. As a full back, I get to help my striker during attack, and love to score goals for the team.
Q. Have you had a chance to interact with any of your new teammates, especially the new signings? What do you expect while playing alongside them?
Nishu Kumar: Yes, I have interacted with most of my teammates. I’m familiar with the majority of them, having played alongside them in the national team, or during my academy days. I’m positive that we are a good squad, and hope we’ll be able to put on a good show for the fans during the upcoming season.
Q. Apart from football, what are three things you enjoy doing?
Nishu Kumar: I love to play. Apart from football, I enjoy volleyball, cricket or badminton. I also like spending quality time with my friends over lunch or dinner. I make sure to meet up with them during my holidays. Lastly, I love visiting temples. This is one of the most important things I’m happy doing during my spare time.
Q. Who are three people from Bengaluru FC you will miss most in the dressing room?
Nishu Kumar: Chhetri bhai, without a doubt because he is the jaan of the team. He is a top-class senior player and I’m surely going to miss him. Khabra paaji because he is the warrior and gives it his all in every match, and lastly Gurpeet paaji because he is a pillar of support to every player. He is the backbone of the team and has supported me as well in a lot of games.Published 07 Oct 2020, 15:20 IST