A master of his craft, Greg Stewart subtly becoming one of the best to have ever graced the ISL

Greg Stewart
Greg Stewart

Owen Coyle sure did know what he was asking for when the Men of Steel decided to make a move for the Scottish forward, Greg Stewart. Followed by his announcement on the 12th of September, the fans and the neutrals filled the comment section with nothing but love for the player. After joining the Jamshedpur camp, Stewart’s exact words were, “All my focus is on Jamshedpur FC. I knew I could come here and help the team achieve something.” And he sure seems to be proving to be a master of his craft here at the ISL.

Greg Stewart’s career before the ISL

Before deciding to don the Jamshedpur FC outfit, Stewart plied his trade for two years under the Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard at Rangers FC. He graced the pitch for his side at the Scottish club 33 times, having recorded ten goal contributions with three goals, not to mention bagging the double with the side. Stewart said, “Steven was an elite footballer on and off the pitch. You learn the little things you wouldn’t even think about. Off the pitch as well, he is very disciplined and top-level on the pitch. Each day in training, he wanted us to give everything. He would really pay attention to the little details, which helped the team improve a lot.”

A master of his craft, Greg Stewart subtly becoming one of the best to have ever graced the ISL 0 JS200122811
Greg Stewart at Rangers FC

Greg Stewart plied trades for other clubs such as Birmingham City, Aberdeen FC, Dundee FC, Cowdenbeath FC, and so on. Before heading to the ISL, he had a whopping 351 career appearances with 89 goals and 77 assists at competitions such as Europa League, FA Cup, etcetera, and most of them at all the three tiers of Scottish Football.

At 31 years of age, Stewart said, “I still feel that I am young and can keep learning, so it is a new adventure for me, and I am ecstatic to go into the new season with my new teammates (at Jamshedpur FC).”

Greg Stewart: The Right Man For The Job For Owen Coyle

On signing Stewart, Coyle’s words were, “We were looking for a versatile and creative midfielder in the market to go well with our attack, and Greg was the perfect choice.”

Owen Coyle is currently serving his 3rd season at the ISL. In 2019-20, Owen Coyle replaced John Gregory to take Chennaiyin FC from the 9th position to the 4th position, i.e., the playoffs. This run of his drew several plaudits, and Owen Coyle started scripting his legacy at the Indian Super League. He had just the right resources in Rafael Crivellaro, Nerijus Valskis, and André Schembri, among others, at Chennaiyin FC to give the Super Machans gleaming conviction in that season.

A master of his craft, Greg Stewart subtly becoming one of the best to have ever graced the ISL Owen Coyle and Nerijus Valskis
Owen Coyle and Nerijus Valskis at Chennaiyin FC

Owen Coyle put his pen on paper for Jamshedpur FC in the following season. To compare his squad in that season with the one he previously had at Chennaiyin FC, he did have the right resources in players like Nerijus Valskis, Stephen Eze, Alex Lima, and so on. But the key and vital element he missed was a creative midfielder as that of Rafael Crivellaro from Chennaiyin FC. With Alex Lima and Aitor Monroy, he found ineluctable stability in their midfield, and with Stephen Eze and Peter Hartley, their defence was well-grounded than ever. Owen Coyle did have David Grande at his disposal, but the Spaniard was out with knee injury for nearly half the season and couldn’t get back to his natural form as much as Coyle would have expected him to. As a result, the side lacked much-needed creativity in that particular season.

Taking a quick peek at other successful runs that Coyle has had in his managerial career, at clubs such as Burnley FC and St. Johnson FC, among others, he had his versatile options in players such as Steven Milne, Robbie Blake, Ade Akinbiyi, etcetera.

Albeit finishing 6th at the table, determined to turn the fortunes around at Jamshedpur FC, the club put their absolute and utmost faith in Owen Coyle and set to continue their journey with the talisman. For the season of 2021/22, Coyle brought in the defensive bloke from his time during Chennaiyin, Eli Sabiá, signed Jordan Murray from Kerala Blasters, retained Peter Hartley, Nerijus Valskis and Alex Lima, and also made the most integral signing, which is now proving to be one of the best in the ISL, Greg Stewart.

Owen Coyle has now evidently found his best XI at Jamshedpur FC, and Stewart is proving to be the real steel in the Men of Steel contingent. Coyle had also mentioned that he admired the hard work put in by Stewart in his time at Rangers FC, which assisted him with ease in making this decision of bringing Stewart to his side.

On Stewart settling into the team so quickly, Coyle said, “Yeah, I did not doubt that! I knew that, and that’s why I brought him. I am not saying it because of today’s game. If you look at my past interviews, I told everyone about his exceptional quality and the impact he would have at Jamshedpur FC, not just with goals but with the overall quality of play. He is a tremendous addition to the squad.”

Greg Stewart’s stint at Jamshedpur FC, to date

Greg Stewart has now had eight appearances at the Indian Super League. In his eight appearances, he’s now recorded nine goal contributions with four assists to his name; his latest goal being the blinder of a rainbow freekick against Kerala Blasters. Sandy Stewart, assistant coach of Jamshedpur, recently revealed the origination of the goal; he said, “We showed videos of the opposition before the game, and he (Stewart) said he had seen the goalkeeper standing too far over at set-pieces; so, fair play to him.”

Stewart’s first two goal contributions in the ISL came against FC Goa through two assists (a freekick and one in an open play), both netted by Coyle’s talisman, Nerijus Valskis. Stewart then managed to find the back of the net against Hyderabad FC. His outing against Odisha FC will be an unforgettable one as he registered the first hat-trick of the 2021/22 iteration of the Indian Super League and recorded an assist as well to his name.

Stewart’s control and balance with the ball, his vision, his butter-smooth finesse in dribbling, and his movement on the field filled with flair and a certain ascertainment at all times is and has been a treat to the fans’ and the neutrals’ eyes.

Talking about the expectations everyone has from him, he said, “I am one of the senior players in the squad, and I take it as my responsibility to help and improve the younger generation of India and help them improve in different aspects of the game. Moreover, my position is at the top end of the pitch, and my job is to get the numbers up by assisting my teammates or by scoring goals. And if we play together and everyone gives a 100%, we know that we can make the playoffs and then try and go on to win the ISL.”

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