ISL 2020-21- 5 youngsters who have impressed: The Indian Super League ever since its inception has given birth to several upcoming stars and has been a springboard for young footballers to showcase their talent on a global platform. From the evolution of Anirudh Thapa into one of the best midfielders in the country to the emergence of teenaged defender Sumit Rathi, the Indian Super League has featured some of the most talented youngsters in Indian football.
In this article, we take a look at the top 5 youngsters who have already turned heads with their performance in the ongoing edition of the India Super League (ISL 2020-21).
ISL 2020-21: 5 youngsters who impressed in ISL 7 and will be big names next season
#1. Akash Mishra (Age -19; Club-Hyderabad FC)
19-year-old Akash Mishra is one among very few players who can slot into any of the four positions in defence. Having impressed in the I-League with the Indian Arrows in the last two seasons, Mishra was snapped up by Manolo Marquez’s Hyderabad FC. He became an instant success as a left full-back.
The youngster has been noted for his ability to whip in a good cross from the left flank. A few of his crosses have managed to find Aridane Santana in the box. With Manolo Marquez inclined to give more opportunities to youngsters, Akash Mishra will have an important part to play for Hyderabad FC in the months to come.
#2. Ninthoi Meetei (Age-19; Club- NorthEast United FC)
Another youngster who has impressed everyone with his understanding of the game and maturity this season is the young Ninthoi. Gerard Nus has seemingly given him the freedom to express himself down the right side of NorthEast’s midfield and the 19-year-old has grabbed it with both hands. Just like Lalengmawia, he also features in the list for top tacklers and interceptors in the league which is actually unheard of for a winger. His passing and off-the-ball movement have been brilliant so far but what has caught the eye the most is his ability to make defenders commit to a tackle before dribbling it past them.
#3. Mohammad Nawaz- (Age 20; Club: FC Goa)
Mohammad Nawaz has made his mark in the ISL by the age of 20. The goalkeeper played in each minute of FC Goa’s campaign last season and kept five clean sheets – third-best to Bengaluru FC’s Gurpreet Singh Sandhuand ATK’s Arindam Bhattacharja. In the ongoing season as well, FC Goa have banked on Nawaz’s cat-like reflexes and he has delivered with 19 saves to his names in the 9 matches played so far.
#4. Lalengmawia Ralte (NorthEast United)
The 20-year-old was one of the architects of NorthEast United’s unbeaten run up until the sixth Matchday. He is joint second on the list of most interceptions alongside teammate Khassa Camara with 21 and fourth on the list of most tackles with 34. The youngster also has 74% passing accuracy which shows his ability on the ball and as an ideal box-to-box midfielder. The best aspect of his game is that with the ball at his feet he always looks for a forward pass while without it, he is the first one to drop back in position and help out his defence. That is the reason why he has already become an indispensable asset for Gerard Nus.
#5. Suresh Wangjam (Age-20; Club-Bengaluru FC)
Ever since he broke into the Bengaluru FC starting XI last season, Suresh Singh Wangjam has been a revelation. The current season has witnessed Wangjam slot into a midfield-three role alongside Dimas Delgado and Erik Paartalu. He has proved to be highly effective in that role.
The youngster has been noted for his tremendous work-rate. It is this ability that makes him one of the best box-to-box midfielders in the ISL this season. At 20, Wangjam has a bright career ahead of him and is clearly the future of Bengaluru FC along with Ashique Kuruniyan.