Since the inception of the Indian Super League (ISL), there have been several Indian players who have pressed their claims to the Indian national team. While the likes of Sandesh Jhingan and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu have established themselves in the team, others are knocking on the door.
In recent years, the ISL has seen many attacking players such as Ashique Kuruniyan and Anirudh Thapa doing well for both club and country. With several managers preferring Indian players on the wings, there are certainly a few wingers to watch out for this season.
#1 Mandar Rao Dessai (Mumbai City FC)
On the left wing, there are very few in the ISL who are better than Mandar Rao Dessai. The 28-year-old can play in both positions across the left wing and was an important part of the FC Goa squad coached by Sergio Lobera. Such was Dessai's importance in the side that he was handed the captain's armband for the previous season which witnessed FC Goa claiming pole position in the league table.
Now, Mandar Rao Dessai has signed with Mumbai City FC in a deal that has reunited him with his former FC Goa manager Sergio Lobera. While it remains to be seen if he will take over the captain's armband, Dessai will most certainly have a big role to play for Mumbai City FC this season.
#2 Lallianzuala Chhangte (Chennaiyin FC)
Lallianzuala Chhangte is one of the few Indian players in the current scenario who is touted to be one of the biggest stars of Indian football. Having made his debut in 2016 with DSK Shivajians, Chhangte has been unstoppable. He was snapped up by the now-defunct Delhi Dynamos in the 2017 ISL draft.
The 23-year-old signed for Chennaiyin FC at the start of the 2019-20 season and claimed the number 7 shirt. The youngster lived up to expectations as well, scoring 7 goals in the 21 appearances he made in the entire season. Chhangte will be expected to make an impact with Chennaiyin FC under new manager Csaba Laszlo in the upcoming season.
#3 Jackichand Singh (Jamshedpur FC)
Jackichand Singh burst onto the scene with Royal Wahingdoh when the Shillong-based club managed to achieve qualification to the I-League in the 2014-15 season. Although his career derailed a bit, Jackichand managed to get it back on track when he signed for Sergio Lobera's FC Goa.
The 28-year-old was an integral part of the well-oiled attack unit built by Lobera in FC Goa that featured the likes of Brandon Fernandes, Coro, Hugo Boumous, and Ahmed Jahouh. This season he will play for Jamshedpur FC alongside the likes of Nerijus Valskis and David Grande.
#4 Rahul KP (Kerala Blasters)
21-year-old Rahul KP is among the most exciting youngsters in Indian football to watch out for. The Kerala Blasters right winger was a part of the FIFA U17 World Cup in 2017 and started a few games as India crashed out of the tournament in the group stages.
Although he is a natural right-footer, Rahul is generally deployed in the left wing and is known for his pace and work rate. The youngster managed to get on the scoresheet in a 2-0 win over Hyderabad FC in a pre-season friendly. He will play alongside the likes of Vicente Gomez and Gary Hooper in a star-studded Kerala Blasters FC.
#5 Udanta Singh (Bengaluru FC)
Udanta Singh's impressive performances at the Tata Football Academy earned him a contract with Bengaluru FC. As a youngster, Udanta showed tremendous pace and trickery on the right wing and soon managed to cement his place in the first team.
It has been six years since Udanta made his debut for Bengaluru FC, and now finds himself as one of the most important players for the side. The previous season was disappointing by Udanta's standards and he will be hoping to make amends for the same this time around.Published 13 Nov 2020, 19:52 IST