Indian football team’s skipper, Sunil Chhetri has expressed his views regarding young Indian players to be given a chance to train in European academies so that they can improve their skills.
Chhetri was qouted by Indian Super League’s website as saying, “I just hope a lot of Indian youngsters, if not a few, get a chance to go to these (European) academies when they are 17-18 years old and still have 4-5 years to improve. They will get an opportunity to train with better players in a better league and just improve.”
“When you get an opportunity to play in those academies, you will get to know the game in a better way. You will get to fine-tune the technicalities, understanding of the game,” he added.
Chhetri signed his first overseas contract with The Mariners in 2002 & had a professional contract with Sporting Kansas City which made him the first Indian footballer to earn a professional contract from the MLS club.
“I played two games (for Kansas Sporting City) and came back and they offered me a contract. I went there as a Kansas player and I think I had played 6-7 friendly games. In two games, I scored two hat-tricks and a brace and I thought I would start for the team. I had a lovely pre-season where I scored 14 goals in seven games,” Chhetri said.
Interestingly, during the Continental Championship, Chhetri scored one goal apiece against Bahrain and Korea Republic.
The man with the second highest number of International goals against his name, went on to describe his next foreign sojourn with team Sporting Lisbon as a “great experience.”
“I went to Sporting Lisbon and it was a great experience for me. Bruma, Eric (Dier), Pedro (Mendes), Joao Mario were there and they are doing so well around the world right now. I was 26 then and all these kids were 18, 19 and 20 years old. When I came back, I was a more mature person,” Chhetri concluded.