These young players can benefit from regular minutes on the pitch.
The Indian Super League (ISL) has a lot of talented youngsters waiting to pounce on the opportunity to display their ability. These youngsters are vital for the development of Indian football as a whole, as they are the torchbearers of the future.
Manvir Singh, for instance, is one of the best strikers in India and has flourished at ATK Mohun Bagan this term. However, his growth accelerated due to his stints at erstwhile Minerva Punjab and Mohammedan SC, following which he was recruited by FC Goa.
Many ISL clubs look at the I-League for talented young players and there are a few gifted ones, being stymied on the bench of several ISL teams. They can benefit by moving on loan deals, to the second tier of Indian football.
Following are the top five players who Khel Now thinks should move to the I-League for game-time this January:
5. Edmund Lalrindika
Edmund Lalrindika is one of the most exciting young forwards in the Indian game. He has represented the Indian national team at U-16 and U-19 levels. The 21-year-old, who can also fit into the No. 10 role, has featured most prominently in the I-League for Indian Arrows and SC East Bengal. Last season, he moved to the Red & Gold Brigade and did well initially, before getting sidelined by an injury. Currently employed by Bengaluru FC, the youngster has not been picked this season and has only seven senior appearances in total in the ISL.
The Mizoram-born player must look for a move to an I-League outfit to continue his development, which has stalled at the Blues for now. It seems unlikely that he will feature in the ISL in the ongoing season, which will be detrimental for the player. By moving to the I-League, he will be able to play the full season which would help him grow as a player.
4. Ayush Adhikari
Ayush Adhikari is a 20-year-old central midfielder who is currently with Kerala Blasters. He has not featured for the outfit in the ISL yet. Previously, he played in the Second Division League and the I-League for Ozone FC and Indian Arrows respectively. For the development side, the youngster played in over 10 games, accumulating 1066 minutes of playing time.
The New Delhi-born midfielder is known for his ball control, passing ability and athleticism. However, without a real scope of starting or featuring for KBFC, it would be better for Ayush to look for a loan or a permanent move to an I-League outfit to continue his development.
3. Givson Singh
Singh has been an integral part of every development squad for India, be it the U-16s, U-17s or U-19s. The attacking midfielder has featured in the I-League for Indian Arrows for a total of 13 games, notching up two goals and two assists. He was on the bench for KBFC against Bengaluru FC in a recent ISL fixture, but was never called into action.
The 18-year-old is a creative player who must play regularly to blossom into one of the best attacking midfielders, considering his potential. There are several I-League clubs like TRAU FC, Aizawl FC and more that can benefit from his talent.
2. Aman Chetri
Aman Chetri earned promotion to Chennaiyin FC’s senior setup ahead of the ongoing ISL season. The striker is yet to feature for the Marina Machans, despite being handed a seat on the bench twice.
The 19-year-old has played in the Second Division League and the I-League for Chennaiyin Reserves as well as Indian Arrows respectively, a total of 22 times. With an ISL future unlikely at this time, a move away from CFC, be it permanent or temporary, will be in the best interests of the player.
1. Komal Thatal
Komal Thatal has been a part of ATK Mohun Bagan’s (previously ATK) squad for the last two years now and has not featured as much as he would have hoped for. The Sikkim-born winger has been one of the best performers for the Indian national development teams. He has featured in 10 games for U-16s, 31 games for U-17s (scoring twice) and two games for the U-23 setup.
Hailed as one of the next big stars of Indian football, Komal Thatal has not featured in the past couple of seasons. He has recorded only 15 appearances overall, scoring only once in that time. A player of his calibre must look to play every week at the very least to prevent his career from stalling. An I-League move might just be the best alternative here for the attacking winger.