Some of these players are currently playing in Europe’s top five leagues.
The excitement in the Indian subcontinent is reaching fever pitch as the Intercontinental Cup edges closer. The 4-team competition will see India face-off against New Zealand, Chinese Taipei and Kenya, giving the Indian fans a chance to see some of their favourite players form all over the world in action.
However, there have been a number of surprise inclusions and omissions by the head coaches of the participating countries. We at Khel Now have put together an XI of players who were not called up by their respective countries for the upcoming tournament.
Goalkeeper: Subrata Paul
As one of India’s most experienced and finest keepers, it came as a surprise when India manager Stephen Constantine snubbed Subrata Paul in favour of his understudy at Jamshedpur FC, Sanjiban Ghosh. The 31-year-old has made 44 saves in 18 league starts this season and takes his place in goal for our XI.
Left-Back: Tommy Smith
The All-Whites defender is one of the several players from the MLS and the Premier League that have been left out of the squad for the Intercontinental Cup. Smith plays for Colorado Rapids and has made eight appearances for the team so far. The former Ipswich man is comfortable at both left-back and centre-back.
All these players will not be a part of the Intercontinental Cup for various reasons
Right-Back: Rahul Bheke
Although, the 27-year-old is a natural right-back, he has proven time and again that he is more than capable of slotting into central defence. He played 19 games in the ISL this season, making an enormous 60 clearances and lead Bengaluru FC to a table-topping finish in 2017-18. It is a true shame that he has not been drafted into the Indian squad, but he takes his place in our XI at right-back.
Centre Back: Winston Reid
Premier League fans will be familiar with the sight of the giant defender striding along the grass at the London Stadium every week. Reid also happens to be the captain of the All-Whites having made 26 appearances for the national team.
Centre-Back: Adil Khan
The powerful defender was one of the standout performers in the ISL season gone by, racking up 22 interceptions, 52 clearances and four goals for FC Pune City. The 29-year-old was snubbed by Constantine in favour of Davinder Singh of Mumbai City FC. His power and versatility make him an easy pick for centre-back in our XI.
Defensive Midfield: Victor Wanyama
He became an on and off player for Tottenham last season
The Tottenham Hotspur ace would have been one of the biggest names travelling to the tournament in India. However, Sebastien Migne has chosen to leave him off the plane to the subcontinent due to an injury. The midfielder started 18 games and made 30 tackles this season and easily finds his way into our XI.
The Intercontinental Cup has become a goldmine opportunity for us- Gary White
We are still far from being the best- Kenya coach Sebastian Migne
I expect India to be really prepared- New Zealand coach Fritz Schmid
Left Midfield: Mandar Rao Desai
The 26-year old took the ISL by storm this season by putting in dazzling performances every time he pulled on the FC Goa shirt. 41 crosses and a willingness to track his man, make his snub by the manager of the Indian team a hard one to take. The hard-working forward takes his place at left midfield.
Right Midfield: Marcos Rojas
The 26-year-old midfielder of Chilean-origin was in with a shout of being named captain of the All-Whites for the Intercontinental Cup. Thus his absence from the 23-man squad was met with great surprise. The soft-spoken midfielder plies his trade for SC Heerenveen in the Dutch league having made 19 league appearances and scored four goals for them. He sits on the right side of our midfield diamond.
Central Attacking Midfield: Michael McGlinchy
The attacking midfielder has become a regular feature in the All-Whites side over the years, having made 52 appearances for them. He was not included in the squad that would be travelling to India as the Kiwi head coach, Fritz Schmid, announced a young party to represent the country. The experienced attacker completes our midfield.
Michael Olunga plays for La Liga side Girona FC
Striker: Michael Olunga
The Kenyan forward was widely touted as one of the players to watch at the Intercontinental Cup. However, he was left out of the Kenyan squad due to commitments he had with his club, Girona FC. The exclusion of the speedy forward came as a surprise to many as he had netted in two of the Harambee Stars’ last three outings. The 24-year-old slots in upfront in our XI.
Striker: Chris Wood
The final member of our team that will not be travelling to the Intercontinental Cup is Chris Wood. The Kiwi striker plays for Burnley in the Premier League and played a huge part in their stellar league season. The forward scored 12 goals in 29 games across all competitions, but has been rested for this tournament.
Despite the fact that several of the biggest names for their respective countries will not be travelling to the subcontinent, the Intercontinental Cup still boasts of a plethora of young talent to look out for.
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