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Sandesh Jhingan: I’ve been a big fan of Manchester United for many years

04 November 2017ISL Media Team
Sandesh Jhingan: Wearing the captain’s armband while singing the national anthem is something you only dream of doing

Two-time Hero Indian Super League (ISL) finalist Kerala Blasters FC has been one of the more consistent teams in the league till date. A forever-assured presence in their defence has been 24-year-old centre-back Sandesh Jhingan, who has been marshalling the Kerala backline since the league’s inception. Having also captained his country recently, the lanky Chandigarh-born footballer is someone his teammates look up to, and not just literally! He took out time to engage in an exclusive interview with indiansuperleague.com, and shared his thoughts regarding the league’s new structure, being a fanboy of one particular team (red side of Manchester, rejoice!) and of course the voodoo of finals!

So, it started off with the inevitable question of breaking the jinx. Can they? And if they can, how will they? Jhingan explained the plan for this season.

“We have to win first of all!” he exclaimed. Elaborating further, he added, “Yes, we’ve come to the final twice and we lost. We’ve done good things last season to win the title, but we couldn’t. But, we’ve got a good bunch of new players, Indians and foreigners, and a new coach this season. So, we’ll work hard, come up with a plan and take one game at a time.”

And guess what? He is a Red Devil fan! So, the new signings wouldn’t have made anyone happier than him, right? He indicated as much.

“I’ve been a big fan of Manchester United for many years!” he gushed out. “I’m also a big fan of (Dimitar) Berbatov. I mean the touch he has is amazing!”

And what of his fellow centre-back then?

“Yes, Wes Brown as well!” he replied joyously. “We look up to all these players, so we are looking forward to playing with them and working with them. Hopefully we will bond well, be united as a team, play well and go on to win the league.”

And of course, how can anyone forget the return of good old Iain Hume? Jhingan explained the importance of having ISL’s top scorer in their team.

“With Hume returning, the guys are all excited; they were all were buzzing when he signed!” Jhingan revealed. “It’s good to have him back, he’s a good lad, a great player and a great guy off the field. So, its good have him in the team!”

And what kind of treatment can the Canadian expect?

With a mischievous grin, Jhingan joked, “We are looking forward to working with him, tease him a bit and have some fights off the ground with him!”

Good luck, Iain!

Reverting to the topic of linking up with Wes Brown, Jhingan can’t wait to partner one of his idols!

“Wes Brown is obviously more experienced and mature, so I am looking forward to playing with him,” he said, before adding, “To get a chance to play with him is huge, so I am looking forward to build a partnership with him.”

And let’s not forget, Jhingan was as important a player for former I-League club Bengaluru FC, who make their ISL debut this year. He is quite happy that his former team has joined the league, and was all-praise for their fans.

“I think the inclusion of Bengaluru FC is great,” he stated. “I’ve played with them, they have amazing fans, namely the West Block Blues. You know how crazy the Kochi fans are, but for me, I was honoured to play for such great fans! So, it’s great to have both the teams and with the longer league, it is going to be bigger, better and more exciting.”

As the chat neared its end, the topic of his leadership surfaced. How big was it for him to captain his nation and how does he plan to lead his fellow Blasters?

“Firstly, to wear the captain’s armband is something you cannot express in words!” he said with much emotion.

“To play for your country itself is a big thing, but wearing the captain’s armband while singing the national anthem is something you only dream of doing! So, it was a great moment for me,” he revealed before concluding by saying, “Leadership is about getting the best out of players and I am going to try my best to do that and just play good football.”

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