Roshan Singh Naorem – As illuminating as his name

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Bengaluru FC didn’t had a great start to the tournament when they lost 4 out of their first 6 games and went on a winless run of 7 games. Now they look to have made a convincing comeback as they extended their unbeaten run to 8 after defeating 10-match unbeaten Kerala Blasters. Bengaluru FC won the game by 1-0 as a result of Roshan Singh Naorem‘s direct free-kick goal in the 56th minute of the game.

This name doesn’t need any introduction now. With smooth footballing skills, he has made himself as bright as his name [Roshan (Hindi word) means Illimitable/Illuminating in English]. His free-kick goal is yet another example of what talent and skills he possesses. Prabhsukhan Gill didn’t had a valid answer to that left-footed hit from Roshan.

His rise in the blue colour tracks back from his U-18 days. While playing for the B team, he scored 7 goals in 26 matches. He has also had playing experience with Indian Arrows.

Under Naushad Moosa, when Bengaluru FC switched to 442 last season, Roshan had few appearances as the Left Midfielder where he showed a glimpse of his talent. In Marco Pezzaiuoli’s first project at the club – the AFC Cup – Roshan was viewed as the backup full back in the team at either flank.

When Ashique got injured after the initial AFC Cup game, Roshan was given a go and he grabbed it with both hands. He started as Left Back and looked like a major creative force since the minute he set his foot on the pitch. After the end of the AFC Cup campaign, it was worth a debate whether Roshan should start ahead of Ashique at Left Back or not. To be frank, he looked much better, composed, and fitting at that position than Ashique. Fitting because of the way the Left Back operated in this system, Roshan looked much more useful and yielding.

Roshan Singh Naorem's footballing skills have made a fantastic creative utility player to have for Bengaluru FC
Roshan’s footballing abilities have made him a fantastic creative utility player to have for Bengaluru FC [Pic – ISL]

So far this season, he has started each and every ISL game he has participated in. Not just only as a Left Back, but also as a Right Back. His heatmap and numbers justify that he is equally capable in both positions. One of the major reasons behind his versatility and smooth footballing skills is that he is a bi-footed player. He takes set-pieces with both feet. In set-pieces, he employs his feet with respect to the demand of the situation.

Roshan Singh Naorem's ISL 21-22 heatmap
Roshan Singh Naorem’s ISL 21-22 Heatmap [Pic – Sofascore]

Bengaluru FC didn’t had a great start to the season. But just like Cleiton Silva, Roshan Singh also had a major role in carrying the team in those moments. At this point of time, Roshan Singh has the highest number of goal contributions for Bengaluru FC after Cleiton Silva. Not just that, he has registered the highest number of assists by an Indian player this season (5). In terms of assists, while being a full back, he is ahead of the likes of Javi Hernandez, Hugo Boumous, Joni Kauko, Roy Krishna, Cassio Gabriel, Edu Garcia, Edu Bedia, and Cleiton Silva. He has already equalled Prabir Das’ stunning 2019-20 campaign where the wing back made 5 assists in total. Roshan is also the Indian player with the highest number of goal contributions (1 goal + 5 assists) – joint with Liston Colaco. Talking further about his creativity, on an average he plays 2 key passes per game which is also the highest for an Indian player this season. He is also the most involved player at Bengaluru FC as he averages 63 touches per game – most by any player at the club. He is truly a major creative source in Marco Pezzaiuoli’s side.

As a defender, his physical appearance didn’t convince most of the people at first but it’s not like he has done a bad job. He averages 2.2 tackles per game (highest in the team) and 1.2 interceptions per game (second highest in the team). He also doesn’t shy away from clearing the lines as he records the second most number of clearances in his team (2.1).

Roshan has played a huge role in Bengaluru FC’s run. As it’s going, it won’t be a massive surprise if he gets called up for the National Camp. His creativity and set piece skills will be a massive boost for the national side. However, Stimac prefers defensive players over creative players. Roshan has produced some decent defensive numbers but he might still not be there. His duel success rate this season is 50% – not a bad number – but someone like Stimac would probably expect more from a player who could be in contention for a full back spot in his team.

Full back spots are also up for the grabs as there are some competitions for the respective spots. Left Back position has Akash Mishra, Ashique Kuruniyan, Subhashish Bose and Hira Mondal who has solidly impressed for SC East Bengal. Right Back spot has the likes of Rahul Bheke and Pritam Kotal alongwith Ashish Rai who is having another good season with Hyderabad FC. Roshan will have to overtake these players to get a spot in the national team as the rest would be seen later.

However, a lot of exciting things are expected to take place in this space, that’s for sure!

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