Lenny Rodrigues is keen to get over the pangs of a disappointing debut when he came on as a substitute in the 5-1 defeat at the hands of Oman in an international friendly in Muscat. This was followed by another appearance from the bench for the final twenty minutes or so against DPR Korea in the 4-0 thrashing at the Challenge Cup. The competition, which is a gateway to securing an entry into the Asian Cup, saw the Indians lose all three matches and fail to score a single goal and concede eight.
The midfielder is part of the Indian national camp for the second time and has his mind set to help his nation defend the Nehru Cup.
“Everyone wants to play for the country and the feeling is amazing. We are very confident and 100% fit. I think we can win this Nehru Cup. We have to defend and are ready for that,” the 25 year old told Goal.com.
Lenny, at Churchill Brothers, has been assigned more of a defensive role at Churchill Brothers and with Wim Koevermans bringing in a new system where everyone has to move the ball forward, did he find coping up with the new philosophy difficult to handle.
“I used to play a defensive midfielder at Churchill but here we have to be 100% ready to move up and down as the situation of the game demands. There are no set rules that I just have to sit back and guard the defence.
“We play in a 4-4-1-1 formation and the coach doesn’t advocate the use of long balls and prefers to play along the ground. We have to move a little behind when the opposition attacks but pressurize them and at the same time, when we attack we need to move forward. Also after our practice matches in Bangalore and Delhi, we were shown our own videos which helped us improve our game,” explained Lenny.
Climax Lawrence has for long been a key player for the national side and is absence was certainly felt when India looked hapless in their last tournament. Lenny, who has been assigned a midfield role alongside Mehtab Hussain, believes that he hopes to play as good as the former Indian skipper.
“My idol has always been Climax Lawrence. Why? He is a ball player who would put in good passes, through-balls and move into good positions. In Goa, people say that I’m the next Climax,” he signed off cheekily.
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