Author – Primal Patel
It’s a sad and gloomy phase for all the football fans all over the world as COVID-19 has wrecked every sector of normal life. It’s been a difficult time for the football fans but for the coaches and the backroom staff it’s all about preparation and analysing as this gives them a much needed break where they can sort out the problems and jot down the missing parts of the puzzle. Same goes for Mr. Igor Stimac who will be doing his homework as he faces an uphill battle in the upcoming AFC Asian Cup and FIFA World Cup joint qualifiers.
The gaffer had a worthwhile time watching the domestic leagues and must have shortlisted the players he would want in his camp. Fortunately India is always blessed with solid pairs of hands guarding the goal-sight. Be it Sangram Mukherjee, or Subrata Paul or Gurpreet Singh Sandhu- we have always been blessed to find a solid custodian backed by a decent backline. Jhingan will be racing against the time to get fit and lead the defense while Chhetri will be ready with his frontline.
Thus, we will be discussing about the most important element of modern football , which is Midfielders! In this article we would try to pick out the best 5 midfielders of India who have performed spectacularly in I -league as well ISL and might have made the cut for Stimac’s camp.
Right now, the most versatile midfielder of the country and the first choice midfielder of the national team is undoubtedly the boy from Dehradun – Anirudh Thapa. Born on 15 January,1998 the 22 year old started his professional career from Chennaiyin FC in the season 2016-17. However, he got loaned to Minerva Punjab FC where he appeared 14 times with the Punjab outfit and scored 1 goal. Following his impressive stint at Minerva, Thapa got a call up to Chennaiyin senior squad. In the season 2017-18 Anirudh had a brilliant outing, making 16 appearances in the first XI and went on to become the first-choice midfielder for the club. He never looked back after that and invariably got a call up for the Indian National team by the then Head Coach Mr. Stephen Constantine. He scored his first goal for the country in AFC ASIAN CUP 2019 against Thailand .
We can call him as a “Manager’s Man” because he can always execute himself as per the managers instructions- be it for the club or for the National Team. Thapa has always been lauded as an utility player as he can play box to box as well as a wide midfielder. Skills which make him one of the best in the country are his ball distribution prowess, 360 degree vision and a solid, calm head on his shoulder. Another thing which makes him special is his discipline and defensive contribution where he shows his presence of mind to fall back with defenders and make some crucial interceptions. So, Thapa might be the first name in Stimac’s book.