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.
The 20-year-old Kolhapur born Jamshedpur FC’s youngster Aniket Jadhav, once used to be the ball-boy in the first and second season of Indian Super League. His journey from the ball-boy to the one of the most in demand Indian striker has been very fascinating.
Aniket was the part of AIFF Elite Academy batch that was preparing for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, which was hosted in India. As the tournament ended, he was selected for the Indian Arrows due to his eye-catching performance in the U-17 World Cup. He made his debut in the I-League against Chennai City FC. He started and scored a brace as the team won the match by 3-0 scoreline. Usually playing as the left-winger, the season was very fruitful one for Aniket as he made his impact on the field.
As the season 2017-18 ended on positive note, Aniket was already in limelight and received offers from Indian Super League clubs. Aniket was signed by Jamshedpur FC and was again sent back on loan to Indian Arrows for gametime. It was disappointment for him as he only made 7 appearances in the I-League season.
A major turnover took place as he was registered in squad for 2019-20 Indian Super League season and made his first-ever ISL debut against Odisha FC playing as a right-winger under the guidance of Spanish coach Antonio Iriondo. Due to lack of experience and tough competition in the squad itself, he was bought in as substitute many times. In the second match of the season, he scored a goal against Hyderabad FC.
It was very clear at that time as the youngster is very eager to train hard and make his place in starting eleven. Playing 458 minutes in 13 matches, Aniket surely improved positioning, his attitude of playing and decision making. In one of the post-match press conference, Antonio Iriondo praised Aniket and said,
“Aniket Jadhav will be top player in future. We know he has not been too impressive, but having player like him the team is going to be something great for team in future.“
In current season, playing under Owen Coyle he have made 14 appearances and scored once. He is being used as inverted winger partnering with Nerijus Valskis. Aniket scored the solitary goal against NorthEast United FC this season. Head-coach Owen Coyle shared his thoughts on the same in post-match press conference and said,
“Aniket has pace, power and he just needs to understand the game little bit more. He is one of the Indian young talent, I am so pleased with and I always want to help to develop him more.“
Recently, in January transfer window three ISL clubs approached him which indicates he is the one where clubs are very keen to take him in the squad for the future plans. Looking at his playing aspect, he needs more game time and has to be more efficient on the field in technically.
“Representing India was a dream for me. Playing in Indian Arrows was best thing while currently in Jamshedpur I am learning everyday. Training and working alongside experienced foreigners is helping me a lot,” said Aniket to IFTWC.
With no doubt for sure, Aniket can be the next big name in Indian football.