ISL 2020-21 – Five things to expect from Owen Coyle at Jamshedpur FC

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Owen Coyle, who took the bottom-placed team Chennaiyin FC to the Hero ISL finals last season has been appointed as the new Head-Coach of Jamshedpur FC for the upcoming season. The appointment was done in the month of August, since then Jamshedpur made 5 new foreign signings as well as some domestic signings.

Owen Coyle

Coyle comes fresh from a spectacular performance at English Premier League clubs like Burnley and Wigan Athletic and has also managed Houston Dynamos in Major Soccer League of USA. After the sacking of former coach John Gregory, Owen was appointed as Head-Coach of Chennaiyin FC in midseason of ISL 2019-20. Under the guidance, in 12 league matches, club managed to win 7 matches while 2 lost and 3 drawn. The campaign to win the ISL trophy came to end after a defeat in the finals by 3-1 against ATK.

As Coyle emerged as the new Head-Coach of Jamshedpur FC, with no doubt the tactics will be changed with the addition of a more attacking brand of football. Here are the five things we can expect from Owen Coyle at Jamshedpur FC-

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5) Shaping the team around Nerijus Valskis-

Coyle has known Nerijus Valskis very well having used him as a complete striker at Chennaiyin FC. The 33-year-old Valskis came within a proven track record having scored many at his previous clubs in Lithuania, Israel, Belarus, Latvia, Romania, and Poland before joining Chennaiyin FC for the 2019-20 ISL season.

Nerijus Valskis

Valskis was the Golden Boot winner last season where he led his team to the finals by scoring 15 goals and 6 assists. He has been an integral part of a team in the plan of Owen Coyle in striking position, which will continue with the same policy at Jamshedpur FC.

Valskis will be the best replacement for Sergio Castel who had joined Jamshedpur from Atletico Madrid B on loan. In fact, the signing of Valskis was the prime target of Coyle, where Valskis will play an influential role at the club for sure, partnering with David Grande and with Jackichand Singh on the wings.

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4) Dealing with a new difficultly to play behind closed doors-

COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected the whole world. Unfortunately, Coyle himself was tested positive, later returned to guide the team after long isolation. As ISL is set to be played behind closed doors, it will be still a challenge to maintain the fitness of players as all have returned to the football field after a long time. Additionally, injuries will be another tough thing to battle.

Alongside Coyle, the Strength and Conditioning coach Adrian Dias will be keen to develop the fitness of players and keep them injury-free. In a tactical view, Coyle hasn’t much preferred a physical style of football on the field which ensures fewer chances for injuries.

3) Integration of Indian youngsters in starting 11-

Coyle is a widely known supporter of young talents. Aniket Jadhav, Jitendra Singh, Narender Gahlot, Amarjit Singh Kiyam, Bhupender Singh have been the names of young prospects in Jamshedpur FC who are included in the squad for the upcoming season.

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Narender Gahlot has already showcased his talent and has sealed his spot in the defensive position. Playing as a Right-Back last season he made 11 appearances for the club. Aniket  Jadhav, who plays on right-wing has been the other name who represented India Under-17 side is expected to be the regular starter for the upcoming season.

Jamshedpur FC

The Centre-Back Jitendra Singh has made a good impact in defence last season, whereas it’s clear that in absence of any foreign defender Jitendra will partner. As a temporary rule has been allowed of 5 substitutions per match, Bhupender Singh can be the one who can make a mark in attacking position playing as a winger. Bhupendra comes in with the experience of playing football in Spanish third division side CD Olimpic de Xativa in the Under-19 team.

Having a glance at all the young names, it’s crystal clear that Coyle would make sure that the youngsters will be given more game time.

2) Building a team with mixture of foreigners-

The 32-year-old Midfielder Aitor Monroy and Striker David Grande already had existing contracts with the club. The first new name which got added was Nerijus Valskis while Alex Lima, who formerly played under Coyle, was the next signing. For the defensive roles, two experienced Centre-Backs Peter Hartley and Stephen Eze were signed. The club opted to sign an Australian player similar to most other ISL clubs as their Asian signing. Nickolas Fitzgerald, who previously played for A-League side Newcastle Jets was the last foreign contingent signing. Looking at the foreign players and Indian core, Coyle has numerous options to deploy on the field. also having strong bench strengths for substitutions if necessary.

Also Read – Jamshedpur FC ISL 2020-21 season preview and probable XI

1) First full season as the coach-

The importance of silverware has increased as the team will be awarded a direct group stage spot to the AFC Champions League. Looking at other team’s recruitments, both Indian or foreign players, every team has tried their best to maintain a balanced squad. Coyle has the chance to mould the team as he wants. Last season, he didin’t had the opportunity to, as he came in as the coach mid-season. With a sneak-peek at Jamshedpur FC’s tactical profile, we can’t deny that under guidance of Owen Coyle, Jamshedpur FC is one of the contenders for ISL 2020-21 who have made a strong balanced squad to grab their position on top of the table and win the silverware.

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Shrivatsa Joglekar
A passionate football lover and writer from Kolhapur, Maharashtra.

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