Amarjit Singh: Expectations only fuel my desire to go over and beyond

Amarjit Singh Kiyam, still just 18, and in line to play his debut season in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) for Jamshedpur FC. However, the expectations from the midfielder will be a lot higher than an average youngster taking his first step into the Hero ISL, and for good reason. The Manipur-born lad is a rising star in Indian football, with a reputation to rival some of the best in the country.

Amarjit is known for his tenacity and wherever he plays, leads by example on the pitch. It hardly comes off as a surprise that Luís Norton de Matos opted for him to captain the India U-17 team in the historic FIFA U-17 World Cup back in 2017 and within a short period of two years, the gritty midfielder has also made himself an integral part of Igor Stimac's senior team setup. Despite his tender age, such has been his impact on the senior team that even the talismanic Sunil Chhetri has been left spellbound by the youngster's diligence and commitment. "Amarjit has been a livewire for us. He is someone who gives it all. If you tell him to fight for the ball for three hours, he will do it. The energy rubs onto everyone around him," Chhetri had said about him in a past interview.

With his huge reputation in tow, it's unsurprising that the burden of expectations on his young shoulders will be sky high as well. While it may be a detriment for most upcoming young players, according to Amarjit, the reliance only fuels his will to go beyond. "Am in line to play my first season in the Hero ISL. I want to perform well and outdo my own performances. The fact that Jamshedpur FC fans may pin a lot of hope on me, it just fuels my desire to do well. Expectations mean they have seen me play and believe I can do well. It inspires me and I will thrive to play well and go beyond the expectations which have been set on me," the youngster said in a recent interview with indiansuperleague.com.

Have expectations from the fans too

He, however, also added that 'expectations' don't flow in one direction and stated that he, too, had big expectations from the Jamshedpur fans in the coming season. "It's highly encouraging to see 9,000-10,000 fans turning up just for our practice sessions. It's just unbelievable. I can only imagine how many will turn up during the competitive matches we play. So, even I have a lot of expectations from the fans. I want them to support us, support football. I am looking forward to watching the fans in the stands too. Keep supporting us through thick and thin."

Over the years, the Hero ISL has been the proving ground for promising Indian youngsters to showcase their abilities and despite being already a full-fledged India international, it's no different for Amarjit. Citing the competition as an 'opportunity he couldn't afford to let go', the 18-year-old said, "This is a great opportunity for me to play in India's top footballing competition. The Hero ISL is a big platform for me personally, and if I can do well here and keep working hard, it can take me very far in the future. I cannot afford to let this opportunity pass me by. I need to make the most out of it and keep looking forward."

Excited to play alongside Piti and Memo: Amarjit

One of the biggest positives for youngsters playing in the Hero ISL is the opportunity to rub shoulders with high-quality international players. At Jamshedpur, Amarjit has already identified his probable mentors - Memo and Piti. "I am thrilled to play with Memo bhai and Piti. They are brilliant players and have a lot of experience. Beyond that, they are great human beings. I try to follow and learn from them as much as possible."

"After signing for Jamshedpur ahead of last season, I had to go out on loan to Indian Arrows. But I used to watch each and every match Jamshedpur FC played last season. It was a special moment for me watching Memo bhai score that screamer with his left foot last season. I will always remember that," he added.

On the team and the head coach

Talking about the team Amarjit said, "There's a brilliant unity in this team. For example, right now, I am nursing an injury. Everyone from the team keeps coming up to me to encourage me and help me get through this phase. They keep motivating me. It has helped me a lot. The fitness coach keeps a close eye on me.

The youngster also praised head coach Antonio Iriondo's personalised approach and stated, "The best part about the head coach (Iriondo) is the care and time he gives to players individually. He talks to me personally to explain the formations and tactics. He takes great care while explaining things. Even if I can't play on the ground now, he keeps having separate discussions with me."

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