Aniket Jadhav: Modelling himself after Neymar

Adept at playing on either flank, the versatile Jadhav loves a bit of Samba Flair.

Aniket Jadhav: "There is no extra pressure on me as a striker. I love playing as the striker and (I am) happy to lead the line for India."   -  Special Arrangement

As India prepares to lock horns with the USA in the FIFA U-17 World Cup (WC), which gets underway at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in New Delhi on October 6, there will be a few eyes on the Number 11 jersey. In what can be considered a universal unwritten rule, the team always looks up to its striker for its source of goal and donning that role for the host will be Aniket Jadhav.

But will that bog down the teenager from Kolhapur, Maharashtra? “No. There is no extra pressure on me as a striker. I love playing as the striker and (I am) happy to lead the line for India,” he says confidently.

Adept at playing on either flank, the versatile Jadhav loves a bit of Samba Flair. “I love Brazilian players, they are great to watch. My idol is Neymar. I love the way he dribbles and playmakes for the team. And he has some great skills to showboat too,” he said. The Brazilian theme continues when asked about the player he is eager to watch in the U-17 World Cup. “Vinícius Júnior is one player I will follow.”

The 17-year-old Brazilian helped his country win the U-17 South American Championship, scoring seven goals en route to glory. He was named the player of the tournament.

In fact, Jadhav won’t be the only pair of eyes glued to the Brazilian star as Vinicius was signed on by Spanish giant Real Madrid, the contract for which will be relevant after his 18 birthday (July 12, 2018).

Jadhav does have domestic inspirations too, as he looks up to Indian footballer CK Vineeth. When asked about his future, the Maharashtra lad gave a sincere yet manufactured response. “I have no personal ambitions as of now. Just looking forward for the WC and give my 100% for the team. This WC is very important for us and I have no time to think about what comes after,” he signs off.