India defender Narender Gahlot trying to emulate teammate Sandesh Jhingan's 'warrior-like' attitude
On 7 July, 2019, when India began their Intercontinental Cup campaign in Ahmedabad against Tajikistan, 18-year old Gahlot made his international debut.
Captain Sunil Chhetri is an "inspiration" but promising India defender Narender Gahlot says he tries to emulate senior stopper Sandesh Jhingan for his "warrior-like" attitude.
On 7 July, 2019, when India began their Intercontinental Cup campaign in Ahmedabad against Tajikistan, 18-year-old Gahlot made his international debut.
He would then go on to score the Blue Tigers' opening goal against Syria nine days later, finding the net with a towering header in just his second international start.
Speaking about his seniors in the side, he told the AIFF website, "Sandesh (Jhingan) paaji plays with a warrior-like attitude during matches and is very aggressive. In training, he gives his 100 per cent at all times and is physically very strong, which is something I try to emulate.
"Sunil (Chhetri) bhai is such an inspiration for all of us and gives us all invaluable advice. He told me to be aggressive when I am without the ball. When I have the ball, I have to be extremely calm and avoid mispasses.
"And when I am passing to the midfield or to my wing-backs, the weight of the pass has to be precise and the direction has to be perfect as well. Otherwise, the pressure will come back on the central defenders."
Almost a year on from his first brush with the senior national team, Gahlot said his biggest learning till date is to avoid repeating same mistakes on the field.
"The biggest learning has been that everyone makes mistakes. But it is critical not to repeat them. As a defender I know which areas I need to improve on and the seniors guide us a lot in that respect as well," he said.
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Speaking in the virtual meet, AIFF general secretary Kushal Das urged Football Delhi to come up with a strategy including vision and specific goals for the short and long term.
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Chhetri said the last thing a player wants is to be overcome by a sense of regret once she starts playing the tournament because of lack of preparation.
Speaking at an online opening session of a coach education course jointly organised by the AIFF and the Sports Authority of India, Das said Indian football has improved its standard in recent years.