USMNT U-17 coach John Hackworth heaped praise on India’s Aniket Jadhav ahead of their Group A opener in the Under-17 World Cup.
Jadhav, who is a product of All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) Scouting project whose Director is Abhishek Yadav, has been earmarked as the player to watch out for by Hackworth.
He was asked that Luis Norton de Matos hinted of the game being between India’s defence and USA’s attack and whether he would analyse it on a similar note.
“I think that’s really interesting. I will approach differently. Our defence plays well and that initiates our attack to be where we want it to be. This is a dangerous Indian team. Their number nine is a good player. We have to contain him otherwise it will be a difficult game for us. So it starts with defence for us as well,” he stated.
He reiterated the fact that India are a hardworking team and have improved a lot since the time they suffered a 4-0 defeat.
“They are one of the hardest working teams. We played them last year. The score wasn’t indicative of how they compete. Our assumption without having seen them lately is that they have improved, they have used and seen as many players as possible. We have to come with a lot of respect. The environment will be on their side. We have to fight against them and the setting,” he shared his thoughts.
On being asked about the problems of plenty which he faces especially in attack, Hackworth said,” It’s more of a problem before we get to the stage. We have a plan. Scout, pick a team and pick our eleven who have the best chance to be successful against India. We do have a deep roster of attacking players. It’s been a difficult selection process. 24 hours from the game, we hope we are ready and prepared and we will try to do that.”
Hackworth spoke of the group will be a tough one and that the result against India would determine the manner in which the qualification scenario is set.
“It’s a tough group when I look across. Playing the hosts in the opening game on home soil is a huge challenge. Obviously, Ghana and Colombia are world powers with the former especially in the Under-17 level. This is a difficult group. Tomorrow will set the tone for how things play out.”
The USA coach admitted that any team would struggle to adjust to the Indian conditions.
“We have thankful of the resources USA has sent - from coming here a year before and also learning about the culture. It’s not a surprise here that the hotel is great. FIFA has done has a great job to make it even as possible. Many teams who are not this region will have a bit of a challenge and difficult adjustment to India,” he pointed.