With several of our followers demanding a series to highlight the next group of talented Indian players coming through the system, Goal.com has started a new scouting series, in which we bring to you the profiles of players who have taken their first steps into the professional circuit recently or who have the potential to be future stars of the game in India.
Today we have a look at Manish Bhargav, a talented right winger working his way through the Mohun Bagan academy into more regular first team appearances.
Age - 18
Date Of Birth:- 22/02/1994
Position - Right Winger
Height - 5'6"
Weight - 65 Kgs
I-League debut – He featured in bits and pieces last season in the I-League, but has already made 14 starts for the senior team in the local Calcutta League. Manish's most memorable moment came when he scored against arch rivals East Bengal in the Calcutta League.
Good Qualities – Movement, pace, shooting ability and dribbling skills.
Needs to improve on – Flexibility, physicality and touch-and-go passing.
A Bit Like – The comparison might sound bizarre, but Manish Bhargav's movement and style of play resembles ex-Chelsea winger Joe Cole. The presence on the wing and perfectly timed runs into the box to shoot are some notable features in the lad.
Mohun Bagan's 2011-12 I-League campaign finished much below expectations. But all is not lost for the Kolkatan giant. Santosh Kashyap, who is likely to be announced as the new manager, has money at his disposal, former East Bengal sensation Tolgay Özbey in his squad and some very exiting talent graduating from the Mohun Bagan academy.
At Air India, young talents like Manandeep Singh, Collin Abranches, Santosh Gadkari, Royston D'souza and Rahul Bheke thrived under Kashyap’s guidance. This shows that the manager has the skills to converge the youth and senior teams to form a perfect blend, and a player like Manish Bhargav would blossom into the next-generation Indian winger under him.
Goal.com takes a look at the player's past, analyses his present and contemplates his future in this edition of I-League scouting report...
Manish hails from Punjab and was very serious about his football from an early age. To nurture his talent, he joined many football academies including the prestigious Mahilpur Football Academy. His first coach was Mr. Ali Hasan.
He was spotted as a prospective talent while working his way up through the Under-17 level at Mahilpur Academy. After some notable performances, he was asked to come to Mohun Bagan for a trial.
The coaches at Mohun Bagan's academy could see some traits of a speedy midfielder and instantly roped him into their youth system in 2010 with the hope of polishing his crude skills to make him a more developed footballer.
Again, more determined performances for the youth team followed and his coaches gradually converted him into a right winger from a central midfielder. Perhaps the time had come to give the Punjabi lad a taste of Kolkatan senior team football. Manish signed on professional terms with Mohun Bagan on 13 January 2012.
He scored on his debut for the senior team in the local Kolkata league, but perhaps the most memorable moment came in his seond game donning the green and maroon colours - Manish was selected for the derby game against cross town rivals East Bengal, and scored! A giant leap (for a short guy) that produced a powerful header past the East Bengal goalkeeper made the Manish Bhargav the 'new guy' in town.
A dream debut and some wonderful performances in the local Kolkata league (which many say, is tougher and more competetive than the I-League!), saw Manish get selected for the India Under-22 squad for the qualifying rounds of AFC Asian Under-22 Cup.
He is currently undergoing an intense training camp with India's Under-22 National team at Bangalore and is very much included in the spine of the team. Players like Manandeep Singh, Abhishek Das and star striker Jeje are also training with the Under-22 boys at Bangalore.
Manish is a big fan of Argentine footballer Lionel Messi and enjoys watching him play. He also enjoys watching movies and is a self-confessed Salman Khan fan. "The fans need to support their team at all times. The support of the fans makes the team stronger, " he says.
This 18 year-old from Punjab is committed to Mohun Bagan's cause and also hopes to play for the Indian National Team some day. He feels he is a bit greedy for the ball and hence other players call him a "solo player". He agrees that he has to improve on his speed and learn to pass the ball quicker. A shy, soft-spoken lad with immense talent and pace on the right wing, Manish can make his dreams into reality, but certainly has a long way to go.
What Subrata Bhattacharya, technical director at Mohun Bagan, has to say about him -
Wants the best for Manish...
"Of course he is a very special talent but has a very long career ahead of him. This is just the beginning of his footballing career. Being an 18 year old, he still has to improve on his physicality and become strong. He is sometimes not very flexible and to play on the wings, one has to be extremely flexible.
"We cannot say if he will be included in every match of the I-League next season as he still has to grow. The goal in the Kolkata derby was great but he has to be more dedicated to the club and his game."