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The Pailan Arrows youngster speaks about preparations for the upcoming season, the AFC U-22 Championship Qualifiers performance and future hopes....

While the spectre of the Nehru Cup looms over the Indian football circuit, most of the clubs and players are now well into their pre-season.

Goal.com caught up with Pailan Arrows youngster Shouvik Ghosh, who starred for the India U-22 team in the recent AFC U-22 Championship qualifiers.

Talking about the preparations for the coming season, Shouvik said, “The preparations have started well, pre-season started two days ago in Kolkata itself.”

“We are preparing to do as well as possible. We know the coach well and so it helps us understand his plans. We have just come back from a morale boosting performance in the AFC U-22 Championship Qualifiers, and also we know the rest of the backroom staff well too. We will give our 100% to prepare for the league, and I am hopeful we will have good results this season.”

As expected, most of the youngsters are on a high after their performance in Oman. The centre-back revealed, “It (Performance in AFC U-22 Championship Qualifiers) really increased our confidence a lot, as it showed we could do well (against top teams).  Arthur Papas was very responsible for it. Everything he does is great and he encourages us to play better.”

“All teams were on paper stronger than us, but we had belief. When we went onto the pitch, we did not think about the stature of the opposition. Some teams thought we were not good enough, but we showed them our worth,” he further added.

He also had a word of caution for Pailan Arrows’ rivals. The youngster stated,”There (in Oman) we were only able to make a few changes to our game, as we had less time to re-structure under Papas. However now we have a full pre-season and can prepare to reach our potential. I am sure whatever he (Papas) shall do, he shall do for our welfare.”

A strong tackler who is good at organizing the defense as well, Ghosh is one to look out for in the coming season.

While the lad aims to make it into the senior national side, he knows it is about taking one step at a time. The defender confessed, “Of course I shall aim for the national team, though I feel it is a bit far. The leap is a big one and I shall take one step at a time.”

The 19 year old accepts that the Arrows had a campaign to forget last year, but feels his side never got the rub of the green.

“Yes, last season was slightly disappointing, because we played well in a lot of games, drew against several big teams, infact some of these we could have won. We showed we were improving in the last 4 games. We gave it our all but I guess we had a bit of bad luck.”

Needless to say, the stellar performances in Oman turned the heads of bigger club in India. However the player remains grounded.

“Several clubs did make an offer, but I was advised to stay as we get to play more here. The opportunities are more, and if I go somewhere and don’t get too much chance then my progress will be halted for a year. So it is better for me to stay here and do well before I can go somewhere else,” he concluded.

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