Name: Vinit Rai
Club: Delhi Dynamos
Position: Central Midfielder
National Team caps: 5
A part of the strong Tata Football Academy (TFA) contingent at Delhi Dynamos, Vinit Rai is a cultured central midfielder who loves to keep the game ticking with simple passes and quick interchanges.
The 21-year-old has an eye for a good pass but the simplicity in his game is one of his main assets as he never tries to overcomplicate things with quick passing moves.
While simplicity is his strength, it is that fact that requires Rai to have a more expansive midfielder to be playing alongside him in the centre. The Assam native does not possess the ‘killer pass’ in his repertoire and that can put more pressure on his midfield partner to open up the game.
Very rarely does Rai opt not to play the ‘safe’ pass. His defensive contributions also leave plenty to be desired which makes it a big risk to field Rai in a two-man midfield.
NOTABLE PERFORMANCE FOR INDIA
When it comes to the National Team, Rai is still a rookie. He is yet to be truly integrated into the senior team although he was given plenty of chances recently with Stephen Constantine opting to field an U23 squad for the 2018 SAFF (South Asian Football Federation) Championship in Bangladesh.
Rai formed an able midfield partnership with Anirudh Thapa in the tournament held in September and played a key role in India’s march to the final. His best game came in the semi-final against arch-rivals Pakistan where he provided the assist for one of Manvir Singh’s two goals in India’s 3-1 win.
While he did grab his opportunity in the SAFF Championship, Rai’s club form this season has been less than satisfactory. After establishing himself as a core member of the Dynamos squad last season under Miguel Angel Portugal, the midfielder has fallen behind the pecking order in 2018-19.
Under new coach Josep Gombau, Rai has managed to total only 487 minutes on the pitch in his 10 appearances with Bikramjit Singh leapfrogging him in the pecking order. In the limited game time he has received this season, the youngster has failed to really stand out and had largely been invisible for the Dynamos.