Fans' Emerging Team of the Season for Hero ISL 2020-21

Following the culmination of the 2020-21 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) season early this month with Mumbai City FC beating ATK Mohun Bagan on their way to their maiden trophy, fans on social media were asked to pick their favourite emerging players for the best XI of the season, from a bunch of nominees under the age of 24. Fans responded enthusiastically and here is the Emerging Team of the Season for Hero ISL 2020-21 based on their votes.    

Arshdeep Singh (goalkeeper)

One of the bright sparks in an otherwise dismal season for Odisha FC, Arshdeep Singh’s 64 saves in 16 games was the most by any goalkeeper this season. Due to the Bhubaneswar-based club’s defensive woes, 23-year-old Arshdeep, however, could keep just one clean sheet. In all, he conceded 34 goals.  

Akash Mishra (left-back)

19-year-old Akash Mishra was among the best young stars from the season gone by. In what was a memorable debut Hero ISL season, Mishra played every minute (1800) for Hyderabad FC. He provided one assist in addition to his 80 tackles, 48 clearances, 55 interceptions and 37 blocks. His performances earned him a maiden-call up to the Indian national team for the upcoming international friendlies in Dubai.

Chinglensana Singh (centre-back)

One of the best centre-backs from the season gone by, Chinglensana Singh established himself as a first-team regular after moving to Hyderabad FC from FC Goa in search of more minutes ahead of Hero ISL 2020-21. In 18 matches for Hyderabad FC, the 24-year-old defender made 76 clearances, 26 tackles as well as 26 interceptions.

Deepak Tangri (centre-back)

In what was an underwhelming season for Chennaiyin FC, Deepak Tangri was one of their few players who stood out. The 22-year-old defender was used by head coach Csaba Laszlo mostly as a defensive midfielder. Tangri made 46 tackles, 34 clearances, 21 interceptions and 13 blocks in his 17 appearances for the Marina Machans this season.  

Amey Ranawade (right back)

Mumbai City FC’s Amey Ranawade was an unsung hero in his club’s triumphant Hero ISL season. One of many players to shift base from FC Goa to the Islanders, the 23-year-old fullback played 20 matches in his debut season with the club. Ranawade was a strong defensive presence with 67 tackles, 34 interceptions, 30 clearances and 29 blocks for his side.

Lallianzuala Chhangte (left winger)

Goals were few and far between for Chennaiyin FC this season but one of their most-reliable players was Lallianzuala Chhangte. The 23-year-old finished the season as the joint-highest goalscorer for the Marina Machans alongside Esmael Goncalves with four goals. He also provided one assist. Chhangte picked up at the fag end of the season and managed to do just enough to find himself in Igor Stimac’s team for the upcoming international friendlies.  

Lalengmawia (central midfielder)

Emerging Player of the Season for Hero ISL 2020-21, Lalengmawia’s rise to fame is nothing short of extraordinary. His strong performances this season was also acknowledged with a maiden national team call-up. The young midfielder became the youngest captain in Hero ISL history at 20 years and 44 days when he led his troops out against FC Goa in November. Being a solid defensive presence in the Highlanders midfield, the youngster made 93 tackles and 46 interceptions during their run to the semi-finals. He also scored a goal.

Jeakson Singh (central midfielder)

The 19-year-old midfielder was a regular feature in the starting XI this season, making 16 appearances for Kerala Blasters FC before earning a maiden Blue Tigers call-up. Jeakson Singh’s only goal this season earned his team a point against SC East Bengal. The youngster also proved his versatility when asked to play in an unfamiliar centre-back role. He managed to make 48 tackles, 26 interceptions, 21 clearances and 22 blocks for the Kochi-based outfit.

Jerry Mawihmingthanga (right winger)

Odisha FC might have finished at the bottom of the league table, but some of their players managed to find their form towards the end of the season, including Jerry Mawihmingthanga. The 24-year-old winger formed a strong partnership with Diego Mauricio, and finished the season with five assists to his name. He also scored two goals in an exciting 6-5 win for Odisha FC over SC East Bengal.

Rahul KP (forward)

Rahul KP was one of Kerala Blasters FC’s best players from the season gone by. The 21-year-old was a constant threat to opposition defenders. He was also the Kochi-based club’s highest Indian goalscorer with three goals to his name. Rahul also used his pace to help out his defence, making 86 tackles and 17 interceptions.

Ishan Pandita (forward)

Ishan Pandita might have clocked just 131 minutes in 11 substitute appearances for the Gaurs but he was undoubtedly their go-to player when needed. He scored four goals for FC Goa this season, and all his goals were crucial in the Gaurs’ run to the semi-finals. The 22-year-old forward has this uncanny knack being in the right place at the right time. He too was rewarded with a maiden call-up to the national team.

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