Today we have a look at Alwyn George, a young upcoming midfielder who shot to fame during the recent AFC U-22 Championship qualifiers in Oman and plies his trade for Pailan Arrows in the I-League.
I-League debut – The youngster made his debut against Dempo SC on 12 February 2012 at the Salt Lake Stadium, when he was chosen to lead the line inplace of C.S Sabeeth. Pailan Arrows lost the tie 2-0.
Good qualities – Dribbling skills, quick feet, eye for goal.
Needs to improve on – Having played in a variety of attacking positions, his positional sense as a attacking midfielder is sometimes not upto the mark. Could also improve physically, but at the age of 20 he has plenty of time to work on it.
A bit like – With his ability to play in several attacking positions, the Tata Football Academy (TFA) graduate does bear a similarity to Dempo SC’s Ryuji Sueoka. Add to that the ability of both the players to find the back of the net at regular intervals as well as the intelligence of their link up play, and the similarities continue to grow.
The Arrows were formed with the sole purpose of giving the younger talented players of the country a chance to shine in the I-League. While the team’s performance itself was nothing worth talking about, a few rough diamonds were indeed unearthed.
Goal.com has a look at one such promising youngster, who has signed for the Kolkatan side last year and showed his true potential in the AFC U-22 Championship qualifiers - Alwyn George.
|An Integral Part Of The Indian U-22 Setup...|
A technically proficient player with bundles of stamina, it is no surprise that the versatile attacker fell in love with the game at the tender age of nine. Based in Nagpur, young Alwyn saw his elder brother play football regularly, and instantly followed in his footsteps at Methodist High School.
Always blessed with speed, the TFA graduate started out as a winger in school and instantly his talent was there for all to see. Having been picked up for the U-13 National championship, he then had his first tryst with national colours, when he was picked to play for India’s U-13 side.
His gradual progress continued, as he represented Maharashtra in the U-14 category as well, having first made a mark with the U-12’s. Soon afterwards his brother, who has been a driving force in his career, told him about the trials at TFA, which Alwyn attended and then duly got selected for a place in the next batch of the famous academy.
Recognising his goal scoring abilities as well as speed and movement, the coaches at the academy converted him into a striker and reaped instant benefits, as he helped them win the Junior National Championships.
Having established himself as one of the brightest prospects to come out of the academy in recent times, the 20 year was not short on offers when he graduated from TFA, after having spent four years there.
The youngster snubbed the advances of several top clubs including East Bengal, before signing for Pailan Arrows on 11th February 2011, opting for more playing time over money.
The attacker’s eyes were always on a national call-up, as he revealed, “After graduating from TFA, I had several offers, but I signed for Pailan since I thought I would have more chances to play here, and also get a chance to play for the Indian team, since most of the junior players are here.”
|Alwyn Joined Pailan Arrows, As He Was Sure He Would Get More Opportunities There...|
The very next day of signing his contract, Alwyn made his debut against Dempo, a game which ended in a 2-0 loss for his side.
The TFA lad had to wait almost two months for his first goal, as his second half strike against Mumbai FC in Pune helped the Pailan Arrows recover from a 1-0 deficit to share the points with Khalid Jamil’s side.
While he made only around half a dozen appearances in the league, the talent was there for all to see, as he flourished in a slightly deeper second striker or attacking midfielder position, which allowed him to use his vision to full effect.
One such example was his assist to Holicharan Narzary in an IFA Shield game, which was one of the few moments of note in an otherwise dull encounter against Pune FC.
He gave further glimpses of his potential this summer, when under Arthur Papas, he was one of the chief protagonist of an India U-22 side that upset several higher ranked sides in Oman.
With Jeje Lalpekhlua’s contributions limited due to injury, the Lionel Messi fan stepped upto the plate, scoring 4 vital goals and proving to be a constant menace with his high energy pressing of defenders in the attacking third, even when not having possession.
Alwyn George himself is very happy with the progress made over the summer. He told Goal.com, “The squad had a lot of Pailan Arrows players, it was easy for me to blend in with them and I am comfortable with them on the pitch. Also I am used to the formation employed by the coach so I was comfortable in the team.”
“Papas is a nice coach and I have learned many things I have from him. As an attacking midfielder he has taught me my job, what is his role for the team, and I have tried to understand that.”
“We were surprised a little bit (by our own results). The teams like Iraq, Turkmenistan were strong but our boys did very well in both areas, defending and attacking."
A Barcelona follower, Alwyn thrives in a similar pass and move style, which Arthur Papas wants to install in the national setup in India. Meaning that the youngster is bound to thrive, as his skills on the ball, speed, stamina and movement off the ball make him a vital component in such a system.
With his eyes firmly on breaking into the national team when he joins the Nehru Cup camp next month, the 20 year old also hopes to one day play abroad to further his career. However before that happens, he is set to take the I-League by storm this coming season.
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