Indian Super League (ISL) side NorthEast United FC were recently in news due to two players contracting the coronavirus during their pre-season in Goa. The side have one of the lowest budgets in the league.
However, a strong scouting network established by head coach Gerard Nuss has landed the Highlanders some impressive deals for the upcoming 2020/21 season.
How will NorthEast United FC line-up this season?
Goalkeeper: Subhasish Roy Chowdhury
The race for the number one spot in the NorthEast United starting line-up is expected to be between Subhasish Roy Chowdhury and Sanjiban Ghosh. While the former has lots of experience, the latter has been performing decently for NorthEast United FC in recent years.
However, given Subhasish Roy Chowdhury's decent record between the sticks for the Highlanders last season, he may get the go-ahead over Sanjiban Ghosh. Roy Chowdhary managed to get 3 clean-sheets with a goal-conceding rate of 1.40 per game. NorthEast United FC also have the likes of Gurmeet and Nikhil Deka as rotational options.
Defence: Wayne Vaz, Benjamin Lambot, Gurjinder Kumar, Ashutosh Mehta
The competition for a starting spot gets tougher at NorthEast United FC this season. With so many young and experienced Indian payers in the fray to play in their respective positions, head coach Gerard Nuss will be constantly assessing the situation.
The Highlanders possess the likes of Wayne Vaz, Gurjinder Kumar, Ashutosh Mehta, Mashoor Shereef, Nim Dorjee Tamang, Provat Lakra and Rakesh Pradhan in defence.
Experienced campaigners with decent form in recent times like Wayne Vaz (left back), Gurjinder Kumar (centre-back) and Ashutosh Mehta (right back) will be in the fray to get into the starting line-up. Former Royal Antwerp central defender Benjamin Lambot will be tasked with leading the NorthEast United FC defence.
Midfield: Khassa Camara, Rochharzela, Federico Gallego, Luis Machado, Britto PM
NorthEast United FC look the strongest in the midfield department. They have managed to acquire the services of quality Indian players like Imran Khan, Lalengmawia, Lalrempuia Fanai and Rochharzela.
Khassa Camara will be used as the sole central defensive midfielder in front of the defence. The Mauritanian will be tasked with blocking the opposition's gameplay and build-up the moves from the back with patient passing.
Former Aizawl FC midfielder and one of the I-League's best performing Indian players, Rochharzela will be present in the central midfield. His impressive goal scoring numbers (6 goals in 15 I-League 2019/20 games) will be crucial for NorthEast United FC and he will partner fan-favourite Federico Gallego in midfield.
Gallego may turn into a secondary striker with Rochharzela as the sole midfielder behind the attack. Gallego's amazing dribbling and goal-scoring capabilities from open and closed play will be pivotal for Gerard Nuss' side.
Arguably NorthEast United FC's finest new signing, Portuguese winger Luis Machado, will play on the left-wing. Although Machado has mostly played in that position, he can also be used as the makeshift striker if required.
Machado may also be required to cut-in at regular intervals to create openings for NorthEast United. Experienced winger Britto PM will start ahead of the other younger Indian players to on the right-wing.
Forward: Idrissa Sylla
Guinean striker Idrissa Sylla is expected to play the role of the sole striker at NorthEast United FC. The Highlanders also have Kwesi Appiah and VP Suhair as options to assist Idrissa Sylla up front to score some goals.Published 18 Nov 2020, 22:02 IST