ISL 2020-21: Fresh start for golden boy Valskis at Jamshedpur FC

ISL 2020: After winning the Golden Boot for Chennaiyin FC in the last ISL season, Nerijus Valskis says his target is to help Jamshedpur FC win matches this year.

All of Nerijus Vakskis' 15 goals for Chennaiyin came from open play.   -  THE HINDU

From trying to dribble like his elder brother as a six-year-old to attempting to emulate his idol Cristiano Ronaldo’s skills on the pitch and winning the Golden Boot for Chennaiyin FC in the 2019-20 Indian Super League (ISL) season, Nerijus Valskis has indeed come a long way.

As he looks forward to a fresh start at Jamshedpur FC (JFC), the Lithuanian striker has only one goal: to play for the playoffs!

How happy are you to be back in the ISL fold?

I have already got more than what I expected from the Indian Super League. The tournament is very famous with some top-quality players. As far as India as a country is concerned, it has been a great experience thus far.

This is going to be a football season like no other with players being kept in secure bio-bubbles and the entire season being played without fans. What do you think is the toughest part?

Life hasn’t been the same since the coronavirus pandemic. For close to seven months we didn’t play any games. It has become tougher to train every day, but we need to be patient and keep moving forward nevertheless.

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It is difficult when you are staying without your families and playing without fans. Sometimes when you are not in that great a touch, your supporters push you to do well. In their absence, therefore, it becomes all the more important to be at our very best.

You had a spectacular debut season last year that saw you emerge as the leading goal-scorer. What are your expectations from the upcoming season?

I can’t say that my target is to score maybe 20 or 30 goals. Instead, it will be to help Jamshedpur FC win matches. So even if I score a few goals but still manage to win games for the side, it would be perfect.

You excelled under coach Owen Coyle at Chennaiyin FC last season. Was his arrival at Jamshedpur a motivating factor for you to make the switch?

Yes, he played a big role behind me moving to JFC. Owen is a good coach. I have enjoyed working with him and we understand each other very well. We worked wonders when he lifted and motivated a struggling Chennaiyin last season. I feel he will help us fight and make the playoffs.

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