Jerry Lalrinzuala: 'Loving every moment of the ISL'

"It is a very nice feeling when you get to play in big tournaments like the ISL at such a young age. I am really happy at this moment," the youngster says.

"My focus is to get better and perform for the national side," Jerry Lalrinzuala says.   -  V. GANESAN

Jerry Lalrinzuala, a product of the All India Football Federation’s Elite Academy, has impressed with his performances as a left back for Chennaiyin FC at the ongoing Indian Super League. At 18, the Mizoram lad is one of the youngest players in the League and has already made 10 appearances for the defending champion.

“It is a very nice feeling when you get to play in big tournaments like the ISL at such a young age. I am really happy at this moment. Early in my career, I never imagined to play at such a huge level. At times, I used to get frustrated,” Jerry says about his dream start in the ISL.

Speaking about the influence of manager, Marco Materazzi, and senior players like John Arne Riise, the players adds: “These are some high level professionals and they always help me with every aspect of my game – what to do, how to do. I feel confident when I am guided by such mentors.”

Jerry, who has represented India at various age-group levels, also had a training stint in France at the academy of Ligue 1 side, FC Metz. “They have advanced facilities, better techniques. They have three training grounds, one for tactical improvement, one for fitness training and then another for game play. They focus on each youngster and their training is very different as compared to India,” he says about the experience. “Training with FC Metz academy improved my game a lot and made me more confident about my game. Now, my focus is to get better and perform for the national side.”

The youngster is confident of Chennaiyin’s chances of progressing to the knockout stage of this year’s ISL. “We are focusing on getting better with each game. And the confidence is high after our win over Pune. Hopefully, we will continue to improve and do well in the remaining matches.”