ISL 2020-21: Mumbai City FC striker Adam le Fondre hoping to leave 'lasting legacy' in Indian Super League
With 245 goals in 616 games played across all of England's professional divisions, the A-League and the ISL, Adam le Fondre is a proven goalscorer through and through.
The new season of the Indian Super League has seen a smattering of newly-recruited talents make a name for themselves, but few can claim to have made the sort of immediate impact that Adam le Fondre has had at Mumbai City FC. Since joining the ISL, the English striker has scored four goals in just six games, and with him leading Mumbai's charge, the team look poised for success.
Le Fondre looks like a man who is well and truly enjoying his football at the moment, a sentiment he echoed in a conversation with journalists on Friday, saying. "It's been really good, you know, I'm really impressed with how we're playing. We want to play on the front foot, we want to press and we want to win the ball back as high as possible and create chances."
The striker was also pleasantly surprised by the quality of the Indian Super League, stating, "It’s certainly an entertaining league, every game I’ve played in has been very open. They’re mostly tactical battles that need to be won. The standard of the play has been decent across the board."
"Obviously, there are things you get frustrated with, but you also have to try and help the Indian players out a little. You need to make sure that they gain some experience playing with you, so they can get better down the road. Here at Mumbai City, it’s not a one-man band at all, it’s a very good team, both the foreigners and the Indians," he added.
With over 241 goals in 610 games played across all of England's professional divisions and the A-League, Le Fondre is a proven goalscorer, and he backs himself to reproduce the same numbers in India, saying, "If you get me in the right areas, I do the rest. I think I've always done that throughout my career. And you know, we're quite lucky to have a really good squad so obviously, the coach has got very difficult decisions to make. Well, for me, playing as a nine you know, it brings other people into play. And it puts me in positions where I can score goals and do the most dangerous thing I can do, which is scoring goals."
His goal-scoring exploits have taken him to the very top of football, including a very successful stint at Reading, with whom he earned promotion to the Premier League from the Championship. While Reading's stay in the English top-flight was brief, Le Fondre did quite well for himself, rivalling the likes of Sergio Aguero and Wayne Rooney by scoring 12 goals in the 2012/13 season.
The striker looks back fondly at his time in the Premier League, and he even noted that it was slightly easier to play in than he expected, saying, "I love my experience in the Premier League. I found it easier to play the Premier League than I did the Championship! There’s a little bit more time, a little bit more respect for forward players, which allows the technical side of the game to come out a little more than what’s possible in the blood and thunder style of the Championship."
"18 months before playing the Premier League I was playing in League 2, which is the bottom division in England. I literally did a whole 180 in the space of 12-13 months, so I was I was buzzing to get out there and play. As a little boy, when I was four or five, the dream was to play in the Premiership and be a highlight on Match of the Day, have people like Gary Lineker talking about me. I fulfilled my dreams and I had some great moments in the Premier League, other than the one of us getting relegated!"
Like at every other club he has played for, Le Fondre more than delivered on his promise to score more goals than in this past, scoring an astounding 45 goals in 68 games for Sydney FC in the A-League.
Having been in such incredible form at a club he clearly loved, it was a bit of a head-scratcher when he made the move to India, but Le Fondre explained that it was less of a choice than it appeared. "The global pandemic changed everything in the world of sport. There was a time when you didn't know if the A-League was going to go ahead. There were a lot of financial problems. And for me, the uncertainty of that and having three young children and a wife I have to provide for, it sort of pushed me out of the league. "
"We didn't know what was going to happen going forward. I didn't know where I stood as a player, so it felt like I had to leave Australia. Of course, it would have been nice to stay there. I was doing really well, I scored maybe I think it was around 45 goals in about 68 games. I saw myself staying there for the rest of my career at a time," he added.
However, out of difficult times arose an excellent opportunity for the 34-year-old, an opportunity that he is optimistic about. "I already have a chance to be the leading goalscorer of Mumbai by the end of this season. Among other things, that's given me a new goal to aim for now. I think I want to want to leave a long-lasting legacy as a player and I don't just want to be someone who's rummaging around at the end of the career. I want to be someone who's made a difference. And I'm hoping to do that."
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