These talented players deserve to play in the top tier of Indian football.
There is no shortage of talent in Indian football, especially if one scratches beyond the surface. While many look at the Indian Super League for gifted domestic players, there are some hidden gems in the I-League too. The focus on the competition has decreased since the latter became the second-tier competition in Indian football. However, there are several Indian youngsters who are playing in I-League 2021-22 and are ready to take the step to the ISL.
These youngsters are flourishing in I-League 2021-22 and deserve to play in the premier competition in India. They will gain a lot from exposure in the ISL, playing alongside the best that Indian football has to offer. Furthermore, the foreign players and managers in the ISL will further help in the growth of these youngsters.
Keeping the focus on the Indian youngsters that ply their trade in I-League 2021-22, here are five young talents that deserve to move to the Indian Super League:
Lalchungnuga is a promising defender in the ranks of Sreenidi Deccan. The new entrants in the I-League are performing well. From their squad, one of the players who is making the biggest mark is the former Aizawl FC defender. The 21-year-old has scored once and made four assists in 10 appearances. He is also one of the leading players in I-League 2021-22 in terms of delivering crosses.
Lalchungnuga can play as a centre-back and a full-back too. He has a strong base when it comes to defending and is particularly dangerous while playing down the wing. The defender must be on the radar of several ISL teams.
4. Emil Benny
Emil Benny is a popular name in the I-League. He is one of the strong candidates who deserve to play in the Indian Super League. He is currently playing for Gokulam Kerala in the second division and is one of their mainstays in the side. The 21-year-old is a versatile midfielder who can play on the wing or also down the middle in a creative role.
In the ongoing season, Benny is leading the stats by making 18 key passes (the most in the division) after 10 appearances. He has won the I-League once with the Malabarians and a move to the ISL is inevitable for the talented player.
3. Bikash Yumnam
RoundGlass Punjab have a gifted youngster in their squad who is gaining a lot of attention. Bikash Yumnam is one of their most talented and key players in the lineup. He is only 18, but plays with a confidence that is way beyond his age.
He is a versatile defender who plays in the centre-back position, but also has the capabilities to shift to a wider position. The former Indian Arrows player has a goal and assist each in seven appearances. Every ISL team needs a domestic defender to have more foreigners in attacking positions. This is where Bikash can make his space and take a step up.
2. Himanshu Jangra
Himanshu Jangra is a promising forward who is making a lot of heads turn with his performances. The 17-year-old is regarded by many as a player to watch out for in the future. He is currently playing for the AIFF development side Indian Arrows in the I-League, on loan from Delhi FC.
During his even younger days, he played for the Minerva Academy, which is popular for producing several young Indian players. The forward could be crucial for any ISL team that is looking for options in attack. There is a need for more homegrown strikers and Jangra could follow in the footsteps of players like Ishan Pandita and Rohit Danu.
1. Bryce Miranda
Bryce Miranda plays for Churchill Brothers in the I-League. The 22-year-old defensive midfielder plays a key role for the team and is ready to take the next step in his career. The former FC Goa reserves player has developed into a reliable midfielder, with many qualities in his locker.
In the ongoing I-League 2021-22 campaign, Miranda has delivered the most crosses (54) after 10 appearances. He has also made 13 key passes, which is also one of the highest numbers in the division. A deep-lying playmaker who can also shift to a wider position is a great asset for any team. Plenty of ISL teams will be hovering for his signature before the start of the next term.