Bengaluru FC in its last three seasons did not win any silverware but has shaped a shiny talent in Naorem Roshan Singh.
The 24-year-old – a product of Bengaluru FC’s youth system – has been one of the most promising players for the Blues as they woke from slumber to reach the final of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023.
The club’s head coach Simon Grayson’s arrival has been instrumental in making it a force to be reckoned with again.
Under his tutelage, Bengaluru ended its three-year trophy drought by winning the Durand Cup, beating Mumbai City FC in the final, in September last year.
While silverware has been the most significant positive for BFC under Grayson, the Englishman’s faith in the fantastic youth project of Bengaluru has been a talking point in Indian football.
Roshan is an example of the many young players who have been instrumental in BFC’s ascendancy this season.
Making his senior team debut in the 2019-20 ISL season under Naushad Moosa, there has been no looking back for the talented wingback.
Having won the Durand Cup, he now finds himself with a chance to win his second major title, against ATK Mohun Bagan in the ISL final on Saturday.
“I see this game as an opportunity to give my best performance yet and will play as per the changing needs of the game and the coach’s instruction.
With the support of the fans and my teammates, I will do everything in my capacity to win the final for my team,” Roshan told Sportstar ahead of the final.
Roshan epitomises the role of a modern fullback.
Apart from his defensive duties, he regularly joins the attack with his overlapping run along the flanks. Primarily playing in the left wing-back role, he will clash head-on with ATKMB’s Asish Rai in the final.
Asish, an in-form player, will not be easy to get past, with his robust tackling and no-nonsense defending. On the defensive front, he will have the duty to stop Manvir Singh, which comes with its own challenges, given Manvir’s skill on the ball.
Given the stakes in the final, it is likely Grayson will have his notes and instructions ready for Roshan for his defensive and attacking outputs.
However, apart from the tactical battle on the pitch, nerves play an equally important role in final matches. But Roshan does not want to overcomplicate things.
“I haven’t done anything special apart from what I have done till now. Of course, it’s the final, and I need to be mentally ready. But the intent is to play our natural game, stay prepared and in the zone as we’ve always done.”
The balance between youth and experience
Bengaluru FC captain Sunil Chhetri, during the pre-final press conference, specifically mentioned the crucial role that youngsters like Sivasakthi [Narayanan], Roshan, Suresh Wangjam, and Rohit Singh have played in Bengaluru’s journey to the final.
“I couldn’t be prouder of them,” Chhetri said.
In fact, Bengaluru has one of the best balances between youth and experience in its team.
Speaking on having a presence like Chhetri in the dressing room, Roshan said, “It is a privilege to play together and share a dressing room with Sunil bhai.
He’s vastly experienced, and his inspirational presence and his mentality are second to none. When you are with him, he will only instruct you on how to get better. Sunil bhai always motivates and directs us to win the game and is very open-minded and easy to approach.”
No matter what happens in the ISL final, Roshan has a national duty to look forward to.
Included in Igor Stimac’s 23-man provisional squad for the Tri-Nations Tournament against Myanmar and Kyrgyz Republic, he will have to report at the national camp in Kolkata on March 19, a day after the final.
But Roshan does not mind one bit.
“I am really proud of making it to the National Team and excited for what’s coming up in the Tri-Nation tournament. It gives me a huge surge of motivation and confidence to give my best shot,” he said.
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