The new edition of the I-League has seen Gokulam Kerala midfielder Arjun Jayaraj more than living up to the hype. If Gokulam has won admirers for its aggressive, enterprising brand of football, Arjun is central to that.
After making his debut for the club in 2017, Arjun has assumed the duty as the team's chief playmaker following Mahmood Al-Ajmi's exit.
He seems to be enjoying the responsibility, too. He has already won two Man-of-the-Match awards while adding a goal to his name.
“I have always liked to play as an attacking midfielder,” Arjun told Sportstar over a telephone conversation from Bhubaneswar, where Gokulam will meet Indian Arrows on Friday. “And I enjoy my role as the playmaker at Gokulam.”
The 22-year-old, who is a native of Trikkalangode (near Manjeri), has been with Gokulam since its inception in 2017. “I have improved by working under coach Bino George,” he said. “We have done well so far this season, but we have to improve our current position in the table (eighth) soon. We have done better than last year, but we miss our striker Henry Kisekka, who left for Mohun Bagan.”
Arjun's form has attracted the attention of big clubs around the country. “He has had an offer from an ISL (Indian Super League) club, but he understands that he might be better off with a team like Gokulam at the moment,” Bino said. “He could get even bigger offers in the future.”
The coach had praise for Arjun's quality and commitment on the field. “He is a creative player, who always gives his hundred percent,” he said. “What I really like about him is that he is intelligent and executes my plans well.”
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