Inigo Calderon: Indians could play in the EPL in the next 4-5 years

"In Spain, by the time a player is 15 years old, he has played at least 10 years of football, whereas it's much more complicated in India. Football is quite new here and needs more time to improve the condition of the facilities and the players. If there is passion, quality will definitely follow suit," remarked the Spaniard.

"As soon as I finish my playing career I'm going to start another one as a coach and I am excited about it," Inigo Calderon says.   -  R. Ragu

It remains an elusive dream for up and coming Indian footballers to play in the English Premier League. Former Brighton and Hove Albion defender Inigo Calderon, who currently anchors Chennaiyin FC's defence in the ongoing Indian Super League, feels the move will take time.

"I don't think Indian players can play in the EPL for now, but they could in the next 4-5 years. It's a long-term process and you cannot rush or force things to happen," Calderon told Sportstar on Sunday.

"In Spain, by the time a player is 15 years old, he has played at least 10 years of football, whereas it's much more complicated in India. Football is quite new here and needs more time to improve the condition of the facilities and the players. If there is passion, quality will definitely follow suit," remarked the Spaniard.

Brighton had a remarkable season in the English Football League Championship last year, which saw it make its debut in the EPL this season, a year after Calderon had left the side. When asked if he regretted leaving the side, he quipped, "I think the stars are not with me. (laughs) I would like to think that I was a part of the promotion because it wasn't only a matter of one year, it was an ongoing process and I am glad I was a part of it.”

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Traditionally a right-back, he was played in a central midfield role in Chennaiyin's 3-2 loss to FC Goa, while he was back to a defensive position in the side's 3-0 win over NorthEast United in the next game.

Inigo Calderon has no qualms about his change of role. "I started my career at Alaves as a midfielder but switched to playing as a right-back because the position was vacant at the time. It's a challenge for me whenever I change my position and if the coach decides to play me in a certain position, I will make the most of it," said the veteran defender.

The 35-year-old is currently in the twilight of his career and is soon looking to don the coach's hat. "As soon as I finish my playing career I'm going to start another one as a coach and I am excited about it," he said.

"I wouldn't mind if I was to coach in India. Football is growing rapidly here and it's a good time to be a coach. However, I would also like to go back to Alaves or Brighton," concluded the Spaniard, who, impressively, also has a masters degree in sports psychology.