Top 5 teenagers to watch out for in ISL 2020-21

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As the new season is around the corner, we take a look at the top 5 teenagers who will be playing in their first ISL season

The Indian Super League has seen young talents being unearthed every season. This season would be no different as many teams have brought in promising teenagers to their squads. Ever since an 18-year old Jerry Lalrinzuala became the first choice left-back for Chennaiyin in 2016, various ISL clubs have been giving solid game time to younger players. Sumit Rathi was a regular starter for ATK last season and played a vital role in their successful campaign. He eventually ended up being the Emerging player of the season. The players who had good outings in the I league last season attracted interest from ISL clubs and it was no surprise to see a few of them being signed by them. We take a look at the top 5 teenagers who can create ripples this season.

Rohit Danu ( Hyderabad FC )

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Hyderabad FC’s Rohit Danu is a popular name among Indian football fans. Danu has been a regular in the junior national teams. He spent time with the U17 national team squad which was preparing for the 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup. He could’ve been the youngest player in the squad if not for an injury which ruled him out of the competition. But the talent of the young centre forward was always there to be seen and he was soon a part of the Indian Arrows side which also included his national team partners like Gurkirat Singh and Vikram Partap Singh. In 2019, he became the youngest ever goalscorer in the I League when he netted against Aizawl at the age of 16. The record was previously held by current Jamshedpur FC defender Jitendra Singh while he was playing for the Arrows.

Rohit Danu was a favourite under coach Bibiano Fernandes in the U16 national team. He shaped into a fine player under the guidance of the Goan and he was a regular starter for the team. Fate played its part once again as Danu was not eligible to play in the AFC U16 Championship 2018 as he failed to meet the age regulations set by the AFC. Undetterred by the hard luck of being robbed off the oppurtunities of playing two major tournaments, he continued to show his worth in the I league and the national teams. In the 2019 Granatkin Memorial Tournament in Russia, in which India already participated in the 2017 edition, Danu scored in a 1-2 loss against Moldova.

At the age of 18, it is still early to predict how much can the young man go about reaching his potential. There are people who consider him to be one of the answers to the never ending ‘ Who after Chhetri ?’ question. He is expected to get a few appearances for Hyderabad FC and he will be raring to show his potential in the biggest stage of Indian football.

Akash Mishra ( Hyderabad FC )

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Hyderabad FC has roped in many other promising youngsters to bolster their squad and defender Akash Mishra is one to watch out for. The versatile defender is another product of the Indian Arrows setup. He started his career in the 2018-19 I-League season where he got a few appearances owing to competition for places. He improved his game and by the next season with players like Boris, Jitendra and Ashish Rai joining ISL clubs, he became a regular starter for the Arrows. His ability to play in all positions of the backline proved to be highly useful and effective for the team. He made a number of appearances for the U18 national team which included games from the 2019 U18 SAFF Championship and the Granatkin Memorial tournament, also scoring 2 goals in the latter.

The youngster will be keen to learn from experienced defenders like Adil Khan and Chinglensana Singh. At 18, he is one of the youngest players in the Hyderabad FC squad along with his Indian Arrows partners Rohit Danu and goalkeeper Lalbiakhlua Jongte. He is expected to be used as a backup for any of the three positions of defence. It is undoubtedly a great learning curve for him in his first ISL season and could provide a platform for a bright future.

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