The young midfielder reflects on his time with the Yellow Submarine and looks ahead to the upcoming season of the Indian Super League…

India international Mandar Rao Desai recently spent a fortnight on trial with Spain’s Villarreal CF and the young midfielder has been reflecting on his experience with the Yellow Submarine.

“The experience in Spain was something completely different for me as compared to Indian football. The players, managers and coaching staff treated me as one of their own. I learnt new techniques and concentrated on positioning,”Rao Desai said

Elaborating on the subject he explained, “Spanish football is fast and one needs to defend higher. One of the things I learnt was to stay focused on the ball even if we lost it to the opposing team so that we could retrieve it.”

The midfielder’s stint in Spain was the result of Villarreal’s unique partnership with FC Pune City and the India on Track initiative that seeks to promote football talent in the country and he said he’s on a return to the La Liga outfit following the upcoming third edition of the Indian Super League during which he will continue his adventure with FC Goa.

“I played in a few games during my time there and the coaches kept a keen eye on me. The feedback given by coach Carlos Peres was that as a player I am not too different as compared to the Spanish players and given more time they could develop me into a better player as I would understand the formation and technique over time. The team at Villarreal are keen to have me back and will decide once the Indian Super League season is over. They will be keeping an eye on the season here as well.”

Meanwhile, the Goans will begin pre-season training ahead of the new ISL campaign at Head Coach Zico’s academy in Brazil and the midfield ace is looking forward to the new season, “We have the same team as last year with a few additions and in a week or two we should be in good shape to understand each other and the playing styles that we have. The manager has been a great mentor to me and the pre-season training in Rio at his academy will be a unique experience.”

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Report by Khel Now-Content Editor Mrunal Nakashe. A sports buff, he’s also a foreign policy enthusiast and keen North Korea watcher. Mrunal loves gaming, reading, traveling and is a self-confessed Football Manager addict. You can follow him on Twitter.