Business Standard

First-time national camper Soosairaj feels no pressure to make it to final squad

Image

Press Trust of India New Delhi
Belatedly rewarded for his performance in the domestic circuit, a maiden national camp call-up has not put any pressure on Michael Soosairaj to do anything different to break into the Indian team.
"I have never been called for national camp and this is my first one. I am happy. I don't have any pressure like I have to perform and take this chance and be in the final squad," said Soosairaj on the sidelines of the national camp at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
New coach Igor Stimac had called 37 players for the camp -- which began on May 21 -- to prepare for the Kings Cup in Thailand. Six players were released on Monday while the remaining 31 will be pruned down to 23.
"I don't know whether I will be there in the final 23. The competition among the players is very tough, especially in the midfielder. Even if I am not in the final squad, I will still be happy," said the Tamil Nadu player, who was named as the best midfielder of the I-League in 2017-18 season.
Asked about the style of play Stimac has been emphasising during the camp so far, Soosairaj said, "I love playing this one-touch and two-touch and also combination and coordination."

Soosairaj played for I-League side Chennai City FC for two seasons (2016-18) before signing up with Indian Super League franchise Jamshedpur FC last season. On Teusday, he was announced, along with his brother Michael Regina, as the new signing of Kolkata-based ISL side ATK.
"I like the way the ATK people approached us. Moreover, my brother Regina will also be playing with me in ATK. We wanted to play in Kolkata. My brother (Regina) is my idol," he said.
He also said that senior player Sunil Chhetri motivates everyone to give their best on the field.
"He told me this is my first national camp and don't put a lot of pressure on my shoulders and be humble on and off the pitch."

Another first-time camper, Jobby Justin, said that coach Stimac has been working on how the entire bunch can be "physically, mentally, and tactically stronger".
"He (Stimac) has laid down a tactical plan for everyone. He has spoken to us personally, mentioning what is expected from us. Obviously that's something which I can't share, it's solely for us," said Justin, who has also signed up with ISL side ATK.
"Personally I am learning day by day. I am getting stronger day by day. There are various aspects of a camp, the diet, discipline, training sessions, etc. I am learning much from the new coach. His training has made us united," said the Kerala striker who played for East Bengal in the last two seasons.
He said coach Stimac shares his playing as well as coaching experiences back in Croatia and tries to motivate the players.
"He is very particular with the diet regime."

Justin made it clear that there's no room for any comparison between him and the legendary I M Vijayan.
"There is only one IM Vijayan. Every day I try to learn a trick or two from him. He has been kind enough to give me inputs. He is inspirational," Justin said.
Not many are aware that during his early days Justin used to play as a wing-back, and not striker.
"I started my career as a wing-back. But it was while playing for a departmental team, my coach starting fielding me in different positions. I found that very challenging, and thoroughly enjoyed it," he explained.
"Eventually after scoring some goals, he started using me as a striker, and it continued from thereon.

Disclaimer: No Business Standard Journalist was involved in creation of this content

Don't miss the most important news and views of the day. Get them on our Telegram channel

First Published: May 28 2019 | 8:55 PM IST

Explore News