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Top 10 players to look forward to in ISL 2021-22

5 mins read

As the calendar reaches November, the Indian football fans gear up for a four-and-a-half-month treat featuring some of India’s finest football. India’s premium football competition, the Indian Super League, is set to return on November 19.

As teams make their moves to sign new players and fresh talent, some stars emerge that fans are desperate to watch on the pitch for their respective sides.

Here is a round-up of some of the talent that fans will be excited to watch in the upcoming ISL season.

 

Anirudh Thapa


Age: 23
Team: Chennaiyin FC
Position: Central Midfield

The 23-year-old India international has become a mainstay not only in the Chennaiyin FC side but also in the Indian national team. The central midfielder likes to get forward and contribute with goals and assists.

After a disappointing campaign in the 2020-21 season for Chennaiyin FC, Anirudh Thapa will surely be hoping to deliver for his club this time round. The youngster has not been short of match time either, having featured heavily in the SAFF Cup that was recently played in October.

With Germanpreet partnering Thapa in midfield, the team from the South will be hoping for a relatively better season this time round.

 

 

Suresh Wangjam

Age: 21
Team: Bengaluru FC
Position: Central Midfield

Suresh Wangjam, currently one of the most exciting young midfielders in the team, was also a part of the Indian team that played in the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Suresh joined The Blues in 2019 and has since cemented his position in the team.

With an ageing midfield featuring Dimas Delgado and Eric Paartalu, Bengaluru FC were in desperate need of young legs to cover ground. Suresh has, hence, slotted in perfectly and has enjoyed his time so far in a relatively defensive midfield role.

Wangjam loves to get forward and drive with the ball and is not shy of taking on players either. The biting midfielder loves his tackles and interceptions as well, making him one of the most exciting prospects for the BFC fans to look forward to.

 

 

Brandon Fernandes 


Age: 27
Team: FC Goa
Position: Attacking Midfield 

Brandon Fernandes has been a part of the Indian football scene for a while now and is an India international since 2019. He continues to impress and keep fans eager to watch him create for his teammates and mesmerise them with his vision.

Brandon has accumulated 18 assists so far in the ISL and is a sure-starter for FC Goa. With the security of Edu Bedia behind him, Brandon can surely get forward and make things happen for his team, though the FC Goa fans would like him to find the back of the net more often.

If Fernandes manages to add the goalscoring side to his game, FC Goa could not ask for anyone better in dead-ball situations and create goals for them.

 

 

Rowlin Borges


Age: 29
Team: Mumbai City FC
Position: Defensive midfield 

The imposing defensive midfielder may not seem to be the most exciting player, but he is an essential part of the Mumbai City team. With him alongside Ahmed Jahouh, this defensive midfield combination proves to be one of the hardest to breach.

Not only is Borges an imposing presence, but he also is a fine passer of the ball. He currently holds a pass accuracy of 80% — considerably better than most midfielders in the league.

Borges is an experienced campaigner who has played an essential role both at club level and with the international team. The Mumbai City fans will surely be eager to watch Borges dominate the midfield in the upcoming season.

 

 

Roy Krishna

Age: 34
Team: ATK Mohun Bagan
Position: Forward

Roy Krishna is one who has been around the block for a while now, yet he does not seem to be ageing whatsoever. The Fijian striker joined ATK in 2019 and has been a menace, scoring goals for the giants from the East on a consistent basis.

Krishna has already managed to bang in 29 goals in the space of two seasons. He consistently finds the back of the net and helps his teammates get on the scoresheet; he has 14 assists so far in the ISL.

Although 34, Krishna continues to use his pace and runs in behind defenders to score goals. His clinical finishing with his head and feet ensures that he will be a threat in the upcoming season as well.

 

 

Vinit Rai

Age: 24
Team: Odisha FC
Position: Central Midfield

Odisha FC must be looking forward to watching Vinit Rai play. After being recognised at the youth level with Dempo, the young midfielder must be looking for a long, consistent stint with Odisha.

In terms of his style of play, Rai keeps the game ticking and finds those passes into the forward line. He is also a midfielder who shows 100% commitment during the entire 90 minutes.

Apart from his great work rate and the ability to keep the game moving, Rai would undoubtedly like to add goals to his game. Keeping these facts in mind, the club should look forward to his contributions and a better position in the league table.

 

 

Ashique Kuruniyan 

Age: 24
Team: Bengaluru FC
Position: Left-back / Left-wing

Ashique Kuruniyan has been one of the most exciting prospects for Indian football in recent years. The talented youngster has already been asked to play in multiple positions at both club and international levels in his short career.

The pacey winger has been immense during his time at BFC, contributing with goals and assists whilst also performing his defensive duties and ensuring his team’s requirements are duly met.

Injuries have slowed down Kuruniyan’s progress, however. An injury-free season is something that the player and the fans will be hoping for. His direct approach to drive with the ball, look to whip crosses in and take on defenders and score is an exciting element that will surely be observed keenly during the upcoming season.

 

 

David Williams

Age: 33
Team: ATK Mohun Bagan
Position: Forward

One of the most threatening strike partnerships of the previous season came from ATK Mohun Bagan. With both Roy Krishna and David Williams firing, the club finished as joint table-toppers with Mumbai City.

At the age of 33, Williams is another one of those who have considerable experience. Although scoring fewer goals than his strike partner Krishna, Williams has proved to be more than effective as the second striker in the team with seven goals and five assists. The ATK fans will be looking forward to watching the two back in action and back amongst the goals in the upcoming ISL season.

 

 

Bartholomew Ogbeche 

Age: 37
Team: Hyderabad FC
Position: Forward

He has been one of the most prominent strikers over the past few seasons, but some may claim Ogbeche has gone under the radar. The former Nigeria international joined the ISL three seasons ago and has registered a total of 35 goals since then.

Ogbeche has featured in various ISL teams so far and will be wearing the Hyderabadi colours during the upcoming season. Although his contribution during the last campaign was the least notable, most clubs will be wary of his experience and his eye for goal.

His presence and goals are sure to make the difference for Hyderabad FC, given that he will be the man the team will turn towards.

 

 

Nerijus Valskis

Age: 34
Team: Jamshedpur FC
Position: Forward

Some would say Jamshedpur FC exceeded expectations and could go away with their head held high, having finished above serial title-winners Bengaluru FC last season. One of the reasons for their success was the Lithuanian striker Nerijus Valsksis.

Valsksis has had a great start to his ISL career, having scored 23 goals so far in just two seasons.

His imposing presence, along with his experience, will be a threat to any team. Valsksis also has a goal conversion rate of nearly 25%, meaning he puts away one in four chances and nearly averages a goal per game. With such prominent stats, the fans will only hope for his form to continue and possibly help Jamshedpur secure a top 4 spot.

 

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