December 2, 2023

Published from Mumbai, Delhi & Bhopal

Any time spent with Sunil Chhetri is invaluable, says Suresh Wangjam

New Delhi :  Midfielder Suresh Singh Wangjam, who has risen through the ranks to become an integral member of the Bengaluru FC squad, feels any time spent with national team skipper Sunil Chhetri is “invaluable”.

Adil Khan, Abdul Sahal, Anirudh Thapa, Pritam Kotal and others have always reiterated how much Chhetri has mentored them about diet, fitness regime and other aspects of life.

“Any time spent with Chhetri-bhai is invaluable. I consider myself extremely lucky to have the chance to share a dressing room and a training pitch with him. He personally speaks with me, advises me, encourages me and talks to me about things beyond football,” Wangjam said.

“I’ve picked up reading books, am focusing on a better diet, sharpening my general knowledge. He has even affected my viewing choices on television. It has only been a gain for me and I am extremely fortunate,” he added.

The midfielder further said he owes “a lot to the foundation” provided by the All India Football Federation Elite Academy in his formative years. After representing the country in the first-ever FIFA World Cup hosted by India, he gathered invaluable experience during his stint with the Indian Arrows which is being immensely useful during his time at Bengaluru FC.

“I owe a lot to the foundation that I have started building my career on. The whole World Cup phase was so memorable and helpful, given the kind of exposure we received, the teams we played, the platform we got,” the midfielder said.

“Once the FIFA U-17 World Cup was done, we got the big opportunity to play in the I-League through the Indian Arrows and that again was a fantastic chance for me to gain experience that I am now using during my time at Bengaluru FC,” he added.

Suresh spent two seasons (2017-18 and 2018-19) at the Indian Arrows before shifting to the AFC Cup finalists at the start of 2019-20 season. The Manipur-born midfielder, in 11 matches during his first Indian Super League season, made 197 passes with a whopping success rate of 73.09 per cent.

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