The fifth season of the Indian Super League kicks off on the 29th of September, with the ISL schedule ensuring that the league starts at India’s football hotspot – Yuva Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata. The top football league in the country might be relatively new, but it is attracting some quality talent, domestic and foreign. There are a number of fresh faces who are keen to light up the turf in this edition of the tournament.
Here we are listing 5 of the most exciting debutants in ISL 2018.
We start off with the best midfielder of the I-League (The Other Football League) in 2017-18 season. The captain of Chennai City is an industrious player in the middle of the park, starting attacks with his wide passing range, intercepting possession and dictating the flow of the game. His drives from midfield opened up many defenses. It was due to the efforts of the Tamil Nadu native that the club didn’t finish lower than they did.
Jamshedpur FC has splashed the cash for this hard-working midfielder who might be the engine in the Red Miners’ machine.
The former Leicester City captain has joined Pune FC this year. The English Centre Back is a product of the famed Southampton Academy which has produced players like Adam Lallana. Quite a journey man throughout his career with Reading, Manchester City and Bolton Wanderers in the list of clubs he’s played for, the tall defender has quite a knack for scoring the odd goal.
Still 32, Matt Mills will have plenty of legs to cope up with the playing style of ISL, which as a collective league, is still nascent. With the bombarding attack, the club has, Mills will be a solid figure in the defense.
Kerala Blasters have roped in the custodian who was India’s saving grace in the recently concluded U17 FIFA World Cup. The lanky keeper will be under the tutelage of the iconic David James. The Manipuri goalkeeper had won hearts all over the country with his athleticism and goal-saving instincts.
A stint with such a big franchisee under a proper mentor would do him a world of good. Dheeraj Singh is expected to be the youngest first-choice goalkeeper in the league’s history.
Andrea Orlandi Stabilin
The Spanish winger has spent the majority of his footballing career in the United Kingdom, starting at Swansea City. He had also played for Blackpool and Brighton during his stint in Britain. The 34- year old from Barcelona might be an essential component of Chennaiyin FC, who looks to carry forward their form from last year.
The experienced attacker will always have some trick up his sleeve and has the ability to change a game in an instant. Chennaiyin FC, once again will be treat to watch.
Noussair El Maimouni
The man with over a hundred caps for his home club, Noussair is a robust midfielder, having spent almost the entirety of his career in Morocco. Playing in the Moroccan Premier League with Moghreb Tetouan, the midfielder has earned over a 100 caps for his club.
He was also involved in the 2014 FIFA Club World Cup, when his club won Africa’s Champions League. ATK’s midfield was in shambles last season and the presence of the solid Moroccan might do them wonders.