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The 26-year-old won the AIFF's best midfielder award ahead of Pune FC's Douhou Pierre and East Bengal's Mehtab Hussain...


GOALBY   ANSELM NORONHA     Follow @apnoronha on twitter


Lenny Rodrigues expressed his surprise over having won the Best Midfielder of the Year award from the All India Football Federation (AIFF). The Churchill Brothers player had earlier won the Football Players Association of India's (FPAI) Best Indian Player award for the 2012-13 season.

"After winning the FPAI award, I didn't even know about this award (AIFF's best midfielder award) until I read it in the newspaper," he told GOAL.

"I would like to thank God for all his blessings. I would like to thank my family for encouraging me to take up the sport of football. Finally I would like to thank my team-mates, coaching staff and the owners of Churchill Brothers. We are one big extended family at Churchill and I hope to give my best for this club for many more years to come," he paid a tribute.

With AIFF's marketing partners, IMG-Reliance on the prowl for signing top Indian players for their proposed IPL-style football league, Lenny mentioned of being approached to join the bandwagon.

"They (IMG-Reliance) approached me, but they knew about my contract [with Churchill Brothers till 2015]. When I had gone for the FPAI event, there were a lot of discussions going on. So they said that if the club releases me, they will surely take me," he revealed.

"Right now I can't go anywhere because I have got a contract and my club won't release me also. I've heard from some senior players that the age of 27 or 28 is the right time to switch clubs as that is when you get matured as a player."

Lenny also mentioned of having won over his critics after many had questioned his talent at a young age.

"When I wasn't a professional player, one coach had said - I don't want to name that coach - but he told me that 'this player can't go anywhere' and the same coach has offered me a contract now," he shared.

"I have nothing against him. May be he said it because I am a lanky fellow, but I always wanted to give my best and it's my hard work and determination that has helped me all along the way."

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