Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler was embroiled in a controversy after just two matches into the Indian Super League (ISL) when he had inadvertently remarked that it seemed some of the Indian players in his East Bengal squad seemed to have never any coaching. The English coach though later clarified that his comments were taken out of context.
What Fowler wanted to convey was that many of the Indian players be it in East Bengal or in other clubs are not always very technically sound and that is predominantly due to the training they received or didn't receive at a younger age.
The East Bengal coach, in a chat with Goal, once again spoke about his observation of Indian football and Indian players and what he felt needed to be done to improve the overall standard of the game in the country.
"With Indian players and with the players we have and the kind of understanding they have, at times it can be better. It is not me being disrespectful, it is me being realistic. It is not easy to change people's perceptions, something they have been brought up doing.
"Football in India needs to change at the grassroots level. It needs to educate and develop the younger generation so that when they become professional players and play in the I-League or ISL, they understand the game a lot more and a lot better," he said.
While Fowler stressed that there is no dearth of talent in India, the problem lies with their composure and decisions. And that is something that is down to the football education they receive (or don't receive) from a very young age.
"There are good talented players here but the game intelligence is something which needs to grow and get better for the benefit of the game here. We want the Indian national team to be successful. We want to help the younger generation understand the game better, know when to pass and how to pass.
"At times when people are in better positions pass the ball and make sure you pass it properly. You don't have to beat them all the time, let the ball do the work."
Robbie Fowler who is the seventh highest goal scorer in Premier League's history had some valuable suggestions for budding Indian footballers.
"It is not just for a striker, it is anywhere on the pitch. What we need to remember is players get anxious. When players haven't scored for a while they become anxious and feel they need to score at every opportunity they get or need to give an unbelievable pass whenever they get the ball. Football is simple and more simple things you do, the better you will become. We are trying to do the same things with our players."