ISL 2018-19: Time running out for Pune City striker Robin Singh?

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The India international must find his scoring boots or run the risk of perishing...

Robin Singh was the most expensive Indian striker at the Indian Super League (ISL) 4 draft along with former Mohun Bagan forward Balwant Singh. ATK shelled out Rs 65 lakhs to brink the Tata Football Academy product on board to forge a formidable attacking line-up with Robbie Keane as the marquee signing. 

But the Kolkata-based side had meagre returns in terms of goals as they scored only 16 times in 18 matches. Singh's dismal form did not help his team either and in 16 appearances (580 minutes) he had only seven shots with only one of them finding the back of the net. 

The solitary strike came against Mumbai City FC for a winning cause but fortune turned its back on the 28-year old striker when he had to limp off in disappointment in the 72nd minute of the match. Although he made a comeback against former club Bengaluru FC, after sitting out for two matches, he could not earn the trust of interim manager Ashley Westwood with whom he had worked earlier at Bengaluru FC.

Robin Singh Chennaiyin FC ATK ISL season 4 2017/2018

This was the second consecutive season in ISL where Singh had failed to make an impact. The former East Bengal player had a sporadic season with FC Goa in 2016 as he was making a comeback from a freak injury which he sustained while scoring his second goal in a SAFF Cup match against Sri Lanka on December 25, 2015. After missing out on the opening three fixtures he notched up 638 minutes under his belt, but his stint was equally unimpressive and he managed to score only once while FC Goa finished at the bottom of the league table. 

It must be noted that Pune boasts of an explosive attacking front with the likes of Marcelinho and Emiliano Alfaro set to lead the lines and Ian Hume waiting to join the squad in January. This further pushes Singh down the pecking order which promises fewer minutes on the pitch. 

Robin Singh India Nepal International Friendly 2017

Singh has reiterated his desire to force his way back into the national team. But his inconsistency seems to linger on when he is in national colours as well which has seen him swing in and out of the India squad.

Sunil Chhetri, Jeje Lalpekhlua and Balwant Singh are the three automatic choices ahead of Singh for head coach Stephen Constantine. But the slot for a fourth striker still hangs in the air as the young brigade comprising the likes of Manvir Singh, Farukh Chowdhury, Sumeet Passi and Alen Deory have been struggling to meet expectations. He now has to compete with the young brigade for that fourth striker's spot. 

His performances have been sporadic. Every season, he will have one or two games where he would be terrific. For example, in the 2016-17 I-League season where he was excellent in the games against Bengaluru FC for East Bengal, scoring once in the home game and twice in the away fixture. But he has not translated the form throughout a season which is a an area where he has to improve. 

If the burly striker wants to make a strong case for Constantine's consideration ahead of the Asian Cup he must make the best use of the limited opportunities that he will be handed in ISL. It is high time that he pulls up his socks or run the risk of going down the drain as another player who failed to do justice to his potential.

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