FC Pune City, who changed their foreign players’ line-up, retained six Indians from last year’s squad, are poised to light up ISL 2015 with sparkling play, in keeping with the attacking approach which the new head coach David Platt is known for.
Drafting foreigners with club experience in England for key positions makes it easy for the former England international to have a first team with players in tune with his outlook. The Indians retained are forceful performers, with a record for consistency.
Romanian Adrian Mutu (Chelsea) heads the foreign signings, while the other new faces are Ivory Coast’s Didier Zakora (Tottenham Hotspur), Turkey’s Tuncay Sanli (Middlesbrough), Roger Johnson (Charlton Athletic), James Bailey (Barnsley) and Steve Simonson (Scottish team RanOgers).
High expectations are not new to Platt after his exploits as a foreign pro in Serie A at different clubs, notably Sampdoria and later Juventus, followed by a managerial stint as assistant coach of star-studded Manchester City, where ambition is matched by money splashed on big names.
Platt expressed delight at the impression the Indian players made during FC Pune’s pre-season training in Turkey, naming Israil Gurung, Gouramangi Singh and current India team members, Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Jackichand Singh, high on the list.
Gurung is one of six retained from ISL 2015, the others being Manish Maithani, Arindam Bhattacharya, Lenny Rodrigues, Pritam Kotal and Dharmaraj Ravanan.
Pune are tough rivals and hard to beat at home, but the attacking flair which was missing last season is supposed to be made up by the foreign additions, handpicked by the new coach from England. Starting the ISL 2015 with a home game in Balewadi complex against Mumbai City FC, Platt’s bunch of players have a dangerous look about them.
Goalkeepers: Steve Simonsen, Arindam Bhattacharya and Lalit Thapa.
Defenders: Diego Colotto, Roger Johnson, Gouramangi Singh, Dharmaraj Ravanan, Pritam Kotal, Gurjinder Singh Kumar and Govin Singh.
Midfielders: Nicky Shorey, Didier Zokora, James Bailey, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Lenny Rodrigues, Bikash Jairu, Israil Gurung, Manish Maithani, Sushanth Matthew and Fanai Lalrempuia.
Strikers: Adrian Mutu, Tuncay Sanli, Yendrick Ruiz, Jackichand Singh, Kalu Uche and Wesley Verhoek.
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