Wes Brown: Rene Meulensteen the reason I came to play In the ISL
Written by: Uttiyo Sarkar
The 37-year-old defender is understandably excited about his sojourn in Indian football...
Kerala Blasters made arguably the biggest coup of the summer in Indian football when they announced the signature of former Manchester United defender Wes Brown, ensuring his participation in the Indian Super League (ISL) next season. The influence of head coach Rene Meulensteen is starting to show and it is understandable that the former United assistant coach was a big factor in the arrival of the Englishman.
Brown played for United during the phase when Meulensteen was a coach under Sir Alex Ferguson and the Manchester lad is embarking on a whole new journey after having played for Blackburn Rovers in the Championship last season. After Rovers were relegated from the Championship, Brown moved on and was called upon by Meulensteen to play for the Kerala Blasters.
It was due to his belief and level of comfort with the Dutch coach that Brown took the big step of moving out of his home country to play league football for the first time in his career and he seems relaxed about the situation. He spoke to Manchester Evening News after signing on for the Blasters and when asked what tipped him to join Meulensteen in his new adventure he said, “I just love being in a football environment, being with the lads, getting the buzz, playing. While I can still run, I will play,”
“I had been asked a few times over the past few years to give it a go but I always wanted to stay in England and play here for as long as I could,” he continued.
Brown then went onto state what played a part in convincing him to play in the ISL and said, “When Rene got hold of me, I just felt I was ready. It was something different, a new challenge and a new experience. My former United colleague Mikael Silvestre has been over there and I spoke to him about the experience and he said I'd love it. He said the fans are enthusiastic, the atmosphere is good and it is always buzzing at matches. So I thought it was worth a go."
He also added: “Ex United goalkeeper Paul Rachubka is also going out to Kerala. We got in contact again and it will be good to have someone else out there with me on the playing side.”
The Champions League winning defender admitted to never really knowing about his new home in Kochi and had never even seen the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, but he researched about it in the past few weeks. Brown continued, “I've had a look at the area on the internet and when I have mentioned where I am going to people, they all say it is lovely there so I'm excited.”
He then went onto heap praise on his reconciliation with his former coach and spoke about how Meulensteen was the reason he decided on moving to the Blasters as he said, “I also watched some of the Blasters' matches on the internet. But actually, it was Rene's influence that persuaded me. He is a top man and a top coach. When I was at United he taught me a lot. He really helped during that period when I was switching to right-back. He's a very good technical coach and all the little tips he gave me eased me into that role and helped me.
“When he phoned he really wanted me to go and play for him. Like I said it was a chance to prolong my career. I know I will have played at a higher level to most of my new teammates but that is part of the appeal, if I can go out to India and help their development it will be great."
Brown is convinced of the development which the ISL is providing for Indian football and hopes to play a part in the process as well. “The Indian Super League is still new. It has only been up and running since 2014 and if I can give its profile a boost in any way I can help I think that is brilliant.”
He may not be the same energetic young right-back he was for United anymore, but he has been training at the highest level and signed off by stating his excitement of playing in the ISL saying, “I have been keeping fit playing in some Manchester United Legends matches and also did 10 days pre-season work with Macclesfield Town.”
“Now this opportunity has come up and I cannot wait. I know it is different but I just love playing football," signed off Brown, who looked excited at the new dawn awaited in his much-celebrated career.
Published: Mon Aug 21, 2017 01:25 PM IST