Some of these names are already popular among the Indian football fans.
As the ISL 2019-20 season begins with renewed vigour and expectations, all eyes will be on the newer names who will be making their debut in the league. In the summer transfer window, all the sides have strengthened to the best of their abilities and the youngsters among them will have to carry a heavy burden to impress their coaches as well as fans.
Here are five of the most exciting young players who will be headlining a new generation of players in the league:
5. Gaurav Bora (Odisha FC)
A product of the Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools and the FC Pune City Academy, Gaurav Bora impressed with his performances in the I-League during his spell with Chennai City FC. Born in Assam and raised in New Delhi, the talented 21-year-old was also selected to represent Delhi’s U-16 state team. After impressing the Chennai City coaching staff during the 2017-2018 season, he was loaned back to the club for the following campaign by his parent team Pune City. The head coach at the club, Akbar Nawas, changed his position and brought him back from midfield to central defence, where he formed a solid partnership with Spaniard Roberto Eslava.
Bora’s brace against Minerva Punjab in their last game of the league, helped the club win their maiden I-League title. The youngster was named the Best Defender of the Season and will look to carry on his form with his new club.
4. Suresh Singh Wangjam (Bengaluru FC)
Born in Manipur, Wangjam was part of the AIFF Elite Academy batch that was preparing for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup to be hosted in India. He represented the U-17 team that played the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Shortly after the completion of the tournament, he was selected to play for the Indian Arrows in the I-League. The 19-year-old played 29 games for the Arrows over two seasons in the I-League, making his debut for the side in their first match of the season against Chennai City.
Ahead of the ISL 2019-20 campaign, he joined the Blues and played in the Durand Cup for them, where he received many plaudits as one of the best players for Bengaluru FC.
3. Samuel Lalmuanpuia (Kerala Blasters)
Lalmanpuia started his career representing Shillong Lajong, where he became the youngest ever captain in the club’s history. Before making his senior debut he spent his developmental years at the Chandigarh Football Academy, where he honed his skills. He made his senior debut in the I-League 2015-16 campaign and for the next three consecutive seasons, he scored 13 goals and made five assists in his 64 appearances for the club. He was declared the Emerging Player of the Season in the 2017-18 I-League.
Lalmuanpuia spent the last season on loan at Minerva Punjab and played in all of their six AFC Cup matches, scoring once. The youngster joined Kerala Blasters in the summer transfer window ahead of the ISL 2019-20 season and surely would be looking to make a statement in the ISL.
2. Aniket Jadhav ( Jamshedpur FC)
One of the most talented young forwards in India at the moment. Jadhav has already got international attention as he completed a three-month long training spell at the Blackburn Rovers Academy in the summer. Jadhav was born in Kolhapur, Maharashtra and was part of the AIFF Elite Academy. He too went on to play for the Indian Arrows and proved his mettle in his very first match, by scoring a brace against Chennai City.
Time and again, Aniket has been described as one of the best young forwards in the country. His time in the I-League saw a monumental rise in his gameplay and the youngster was one of the most important players for the Arrows. Jadhav joined Jamshedpur FC in the summer transfer window ahead of the ISL 2019-20 season and is expected to be one of the few breakout young stars in the league.
1. Jeakson Singh ( Kerala Blasters FC)
Jeakson Singh is a forward who hails from Manipur, India. Having started his career at the Minerva Punjab youth team, he was selected by the Indian Arrows as part of their youth program and taken on loan from his parent club. It was Jeakson’s performances at the U-17 World Cup that caught the eye of national selectors.
He has also become the first Indian player to score in a FIFA tournament, when he scored against Colombia in India’s second game of the competition. His 82nd minute header from a corner was the equalizer for India, sending the stadium into a frenzy. He was also declared the Best Performer for both the Arrows and Minerva Punjab during his time there. Now, it will be very interesting to see how this 18-year-old fares at his new club.