Akash Mishra has emerged as an unexpected find for Hyderabad FC this season
This is a series for identifying the emerging players of the seventh edition of the Indian Super League. The players chosen are either aged under 23, or are playing their maiden or the second season in the Indian Super League.
A man who has cemented his place for his team all through the season, Akash Mishra has come a long way in becoming one of the brightest young players in the country. The 19 year old left back hasn’t missed a single minute for Hyderabad FC in this season. He became an unexpected find for the Nizams along with Liston Colaco, Mohammed Yasir and Hitesh Sharma. Akash was lured from Indian Arrows along with Rohit Danu and Lalbiakhlua Jongte. While he was expected to be used as a backup, coach Manolo Marquez surprised everyone by playing Akash in the starting lineup. Since then he has been rock solid for the team playing in all 15 matches of the season.
Akash was a part of the Indian Arrows setup and made his I League debut in 2018. Being a natural defender, he was played at all three positions in the defence. After players like Boris Singh, Sanjeev Stalin, Jitendra Singh and Ashish Rai left the Arrows, Akash became a regular starter for the team in the backline. He has played for the U18 national team and had won the 2019 SAFF U18 Championship. In the prestigious Granatkin Memorial Tournament 2019 in Russia, Akash scored two goals for the country. With continuing good performances, Hyderabad FC came calling for the youngster.
The full backs of Hyderabad FC have been consistent throughout the season and have contributed in both halves of the pitch. The work rate of the duo of Akash Mishra – Ashish Rai adds a flavour of youth and energy to the team. They have created numerous chances and have a good understanding with the wingers. Akash Mishra stands tall and strong in his tackles, is never afraid to put a foot in. Being a right footed left back, he doesn’t seem to struggle with playing on the side of his weaker foot.
The defender has improved in the positional sense of play. Over the season, his reading of the game has improved in every match. Be it close man marking or making goal line clearances, it was a delight for the fans to watch a young defender who shows maturity beyond his age. Seldom is he seen being beaten and it all owes to his ability to track his marker very well. A good understanding with the other three defenders of the back four is commendable. It is safe to say that the defence has contributed a good part for Hyderabad FC to be in the top 4 currently.
“His composure on the ball is his best quality. He doesn’t lose sight of the player ” cites former Kerala Blasters coach Eelco Schattorie.
” Moreover he has the ability to go up and down the pitch for 90 minutes, making overlapping runs and delivering crosses.
In India, there’s a lack of left backs with certain quality. Although he is right footed, at this moment he is the best player in his position from what I see in all the options that the national team has. “
One aspect in which Indian players struggle regularly is in mental strength and fitness. But the 19 year old has been very mature in his play and is a team player. The way in which he and Ashish go about doing their work, it gives the team enough confidence in other areas of the pitch. Marquez has shown a lot of importance in giving chances to young players which has led to the emergence of Liston Colaco, Ashish Rai and Hitesh Sharma.
Akash Mishra shows signs of a bright future ahead of him. With even the national team coach Igor Stimac being impressed by Hyderabad’s uncapped youngsters, it would only be a matter of time till Akash makes his debut for the Blue Tigers. He is certainly a contender for the ISL emerging player of the season. As he establishes himself as a mainstay in the Hyderabad FC squad, the way ahead for the young man looks promising.