Intercontinental Cup: I could not believe at first, says Narender Gahlot on national team call-up

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The young defender hopes to impress Igor Stimac and make it to the final Indian squad for Intercontinental Cup…

Promising young defender Narender Gahlot was recently named in the 35-man preliminary Indian squad for the upcoming Intercontinental Cup by coach Igor Stimac.

The youngster had a great outing with the Indian Arrows side in I-League 2018-19 and his impressive show earned him a call in the senior national side. This was after he had impressed with the India U23 side earlier this season.

Speaking to Goal, the youngster was left awestruck when he saw his name in Stimac’s initial list. He said, “I was very happy to hear about my selection in the national camp. Last time also my name was considered but as I was injured I did not get a call. This time I was not sure about my selection as the competition was very high. But when I saw my name on the list I was really happy. I could not believe at first.”

Narender mentioned that he closely watched India’s matches in the recently concluded King’s Cup in Thailand and feels that he has a very good chance to prove himself under a coach like Stimac who loves to give chances to youngsters and new players. Especially since Narender is able to play at left-back and as a left sided centre-back.

He said, “I saw India’s matches in the King’s Cup. They played really well and were keeping ball possession. There were some problems in the final third but we have a very good coach and I believe he can guide to us to greater heights. Igor Stimac has a lot of experience and he is a great coach. He is giving chances to many young players. Whoever is working hard is getting a chance to prove themselves under him.”

Igor Stimac called back veteran defender Anas Edathodika, who had retired from international football after the Asian Cup 2019.

On asked if Anas’ comeback will make things tough for Narender, the youngster replied with confidence, “Yes, the competition will be very high this time. I am the youngest player in defence. I will try my best and try to impress the coach.”

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