Gokulam’s Devrani eyes to return to national team via I-League

Veteran defender Deepak Devrani, who moved to southern heavyweights Gokulam Kerala FC, aspires to return to the national team with a strong show in the upcoming season of the Hero I-League.

“My goals in the immediate term are to make sure I am season-ready and at the top of my fitness, get to know my teammates, coach, management, and to adapt to the new normal so that we all work together to make our way to the top match-by-match.

“My personal goal is to make it back into the national team and to represent India,” he was quoted as saying by the All India Football Federation.

Having already won the league twice in the past, the former Arrows product is looking to share his valuable experiences with his new team.

“Winning the Hero I-League is always at the top of my mind every season. However, football is a team sport and you never win as an individual but as a team. So I hope to share my experiences and learning so far with my team, as well as learn from the experiences of my teammates and coaches,” he said.

“I am grateful to the team management, our sponsors, supporters, all officials and everyone in Kerala who has enabled us to come here and start our season. It has not been easy for anyone and but the support we have received so far has made our arrival and settling in has been outstanding.”

The 14th edition of the I-League is scheduled to kick off on January 9, 2021.

Instead of the traditional home and away format, the entire I-League 2020-21 will be held across three venues in Kolkata owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Devrani said not just him every footballer is relieved to be able to return to ground after spending months in lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When I saw the freshly cut grass in the stadium it was just amazing. I thought we are going to start football, finally. Everyone was so excited to see the stadium again. For me, staying away from the field never happened before, my whole life has always been around and next to the ground,” he said.

“The whole lockdown we were thinking that when we would go for a run on the ground again.”