AFC Asian Cup 2019: India's Anirudh Thapa - Every match is like a final to us

Anirudh Thapa Indian National Team
AIFF Media
The youngster feels the entire Indian squad is focused on the continental tournament...

India midfielder Anirudh Thapa is one of the youngest yet brightest talents in the team which will play the AFC Asian Cup less than a week from now.

The Chennaiyin FC midfielder is excited for the tournament and shared the same in chat with Goal.

"I’m excited for the tournament. It is an achievement to play the Asian Cup for the national team. We are looking forward to it and will give it our best shot.

"As we do not know when we will get another chance. So everybody are looking forward to it," he added.

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"Everybody are excited and boosted up. Everybody wants to play for the national team and football is becoming a big thing in India now. Everybody are prepared for the tournament."

The 20-year-old has credited the senior players in the team like Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Sandesh Jhingan, Sunil Chhetri and Jeje Lalpekhlua for having guided him as they prepare for the big tournament.

"The senior players are motivating us. They are helping us out on and off the field. Sunil bhai, Jeje bhai, Sandesh bhai, Gurpreet bhai, they are all helping us. They know that it’s a big thing for them and for us also. We are getting an opportunity at this age. They tell us everyday we need to get better and work hard so that when we go there we do not have any excuses."

Thapa also stated the need to play every match like it's the final of the touranment, given how strong India's Group A opponents - UAE, Bahrain and Thailand - are.

"No one will give in easily. All teams will give their best. UAE is at their home and will give it their all. Thailand and Bahrain are good sides too. Every match is like a final to us and we need to give it our all.

"We will fight hard and try to make it through the group stages."

He also touched on how players like Rowllin Borges, Vinit Rai, Germanpreet Singh and Pronay Halder are increasing the competition in India's midfield and are keeping him on his toes. Thapa has not really sparkled for his club despite being a regular in the first-team this season but has been impressive for India whenever called upon.

"There is good competition in midfield. It is good for me. There are senior players and junior players. I can’t take my position for granted. The coach will pick only the best."

He also had a message for the fans - "The fans are the 12th man for us. Whenever they shout and cheer for us, we are motivated. Please do come and watch us if you can do so at the stadium. It will be a great booster for us."