The Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21 was unique in more ways than one. From being an entirely closed-door event to newer teams on the block, the 2020-21 season will be memorable for numerous reasons.
The season saw several young Indian talents emerge as teams rotated their squads and provided the youngsters with an opportunity to attain continuity. Sportskeeda looks at the Top 10 young Indian talents who grabbed all the eyeballs in the 7th season of the ISL:
#10 Ninthoinganba Meetei (NorthEast United FC)
Ninthoi played a pivotal role in the NorthEast United FC setup. He was not used as a conventional winger down the right side but as a right full-back in the 13 ISL matches he started for the Highlanders.
He has made 21 clearances, 35 tackles, and delivered in 19 crosses. His pace and agility allowed him to track back opponents down the right side.
#9 Lalengmawia (Northeast United FC)
Lalengmawia has had an excellent season with NorthEast United FC. The 20-year old central defensive midfielder was a lynchpin for the Highlanders behind the playmakers.
Popularly known as Apuia, the #45 has made 42 interceptions, 22 clearances, 21 blocks, 90 tackles, with 916 touches on the ball. He has made 715 passes with an accuracy of 75.38% along with a goal.
#8 Jeakson Singh (Kerala Blasters FC)
The U-17 World Cup 2017 goal-scorer, Jeakson Singh, was impressive in his second season in the ISL. He shouldered key responsibilities at the center of the pitch when the likes of Sergio Cidoncha and Facundo Pereyra were unavailable for selection for Kerala Blasters FC.
The 19-year old central midfielder showed his versatility and played both defensive and creative roles for Kibu Vicuna's side. With an average of 0.3 key passes and 78% passing accuracy, Jeakson played a key role. He also scored a goal himself.
#7 Jerry Mawihmingthanga (Odisha FC)
Jerry Mawihmingthanga was arguably one of the finest names in the Odisha FC squad. The 23-year old winger can play on both wings. He mostly played the supporting striker role down the right-wing.
Jerry scored twice and made 5 assists on the league stage. He is also the leading Indian assist maker in the ISL. With 34 crosses and 21 shots on target, it is beyond belief that he has not been picked by the Indian national team for Oman and UAE friendlies.
#6 Rahul KP (Kerala Blasters FC)
Rahul KP was an essential part of Kerala Blasters' scheme of things. The 20-year-old winger from Kerala was used on both wings. He initially started the season as a left-winger but soon shifted to the right side of the pitch.
His pace, agility and trickery allowed him to score 3 goals and make 0.5 key passes every game. He also scored a solo goal for Bengaluru FC and is definitely part of the future of Kerala Blasters FC.
#5 Suresh Singh Wangjam (Bengaluru FC)
In a season like no other, Bengaluru FC finished out of the top four in the ISL for the first time since its inception in 2013. With players ageing and losing momentum, it was one certain Suresh Singh Wangjam in midfield who kept the team together.
Wangjam plays the role of a defensive midfielder and was a primary playmaker during the absence of Erik Paartulu, Dimas Delgado and Francisco Gonzalez. Wangjam likes to play with the ball and has exemplary passing vision. With 602 passes, 755 touches and 68 tackles, Wangjam formed the baseline of the Bengaluru FC midfield.
#4 Asish Rai (Hyderabad FC)
Asish Rai has been one of the finest left-backs in the ISL. The 22-year old Sikkimese was a rock at the back down the left wing for Hyderabad FC. Rai likes to use the wings to his advantage and can also go down the pitch and act as a make-shift left-full-back.
He assisted two goals overall, with 0.7 key passes on average each game. Rai made 771 passes and had 1161 touches on the ball, speaking volumes of his importance in Manuel Roca's setup.
#3 Saviour Gama (FC Goa)
Saviour Gama has emerged as one of the finest right-backs in the ISL. With the added pressure to replace Mandar Rao Dessai at the back for FC Goa, Gama has lived up to the expectations from him.
Gama is an excellent blocker of the ball on the left-wing. The former Santa Cruz Club product has assisted 3 goals with his pin-point crossing abilities. Gama has made 2 key passes on average in every game, thus demonstrating his attacking abilities.
#2 Akash Mishra (Hyderabad FC)
Akash Mishra was arguably the league's best left-back this season. The 19-year old joined Hyderabad FC from Indian Arrows and has been highly impressive. Mishra has attempted 80 tackles, 55 interceptions and 48 clearances in the ISL league stage.
With 0.3 key passes in each game and a total of 3 big chances created, Mishra is a constant threat down the wing for any ISL opposition. He also has assisted one goal.
#1 Liston Colaco (Hyderabad FC)
Liston Colaco has been the most talked about young player in the 2020-21 ISL season. The 22-year old forward has been making headlines with his sheer pace, trickery and knack for scoring quick goals.
Colaco scored 2 goals and made 3 assists in the 19 ISL matches, he featured in, most of them being second-half substitutes. Colaco is quick on his feet and likes to cut inside from the left and go for goals. He is certainly one for the future as far as Indian strikers in the ISL are concerned.
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Also Check Out: ISL Squads for 2021