Hero ISL 2022-23: A look at the most promising young players
The Hero Indian Super League (ISL) has established itself as the place for the development of the best football talent in the nation.The league has over the years given some of India's best young players the platform and exposure they needed.
The Hero ISL 2022-23 season was no different. A number of young players have emerged at various clubs and have laid down the foundations of a strong career.
As the dust settles on a brilliant campaign, here's a look at some of the best young players who rose to prominence with their performances:
Parthib Gogoi (NorthEast United FC)
NorthEast United FC had a nightmare of a season as they won just one game all season. The Highlanders mainly relied on young players to perform and some of them did step up to the plate.
Parthib Gogoi was one of the shining lights of their season. The 19-year-old generated attacking threats with his work rate, even if NorthEast United FC has lacked vigour and energy. He also scored his first Hero ISL goal against League Shield winners Mumbai City FC. The ailing Highlanders will benefit a lot from Parthib's growth in the future.
Lalchungnunga (East Bengal FC)
This Hero ISL season has not been particularly impressive for East Bengal but getting Lalchungnunga signed might be one of their largest gains.
The young center-back was signed by the Red and Gold Brigade after he made an impression with Sreenidi Deccan FC in the I-League. Since then, he has regularly been in head coach Stephen Constantine's starting line-up.
The 22-year-old is the only member of the East Bengal team to have logged 1682 Hero ISL minutes in 19 appearances. At the heart of the East Bengal defence, Lalcungnunga and Ivan Gonzalez had a fantastic working relationship.
Sivasakthi Narayanan (Bengaluru FC)
The youngster was a pivotal figure for Bengaluru FC throughout the season, with six goals and three assists in 21 appearances. Sivasakthi fought his way into Simon Grayson’s line-up and kept the great Sunil Chhetri out of the team.
Sivasakthi's form was crucial in the Blues unbeaten run that took his team all the way to the Hero ISL final, eventually falling short of winning silverware after an early injury to the forward in the final. Sivasakthi won the Hero Emerging Player of the League for 2022-23 season which is a proof of his impressive outings during the 2022-23 season.
Isak Vanlalruatfela (Odisha FC)
The Odisha FC winger, also known as “pocket rocket” for the way he performs on the pitch was instrumental in helping the Juggernauts finish strongly and qualify for the playoffs for the first time in their history.
The 21-year-old was awarded the Emerging Player of the Month award for February for his returns on the field. He was involved in two goals and two assists in 10 appearances for Odisha FC and also created a good chunk of nine chances in the Hero ISL 2022-23.
Vishal Yadav (Jamshedpur FC)
The 20-year-old goalkeeper was a big positive between the sticks for Aidy Boothroyd’s team. Yadav played a crucial role for the Red Miners as he made 29 saves and conceded 15 goals in nine games, which also included a clever penalty save.
The goalkeeper recorded a single clean sheet across the 810 minutes he appeared on the pitch and had a 65.9 percent save rate. Overshadowed by the team's underwhelming performances, Yadav has plenty to look forward to and will come back even stronger next season.
Bryce Miranda (Kerala Blasters FC)
The Blasters are known for helping young players make it big, and it was no different for 23-year-old midfielder Bryce Miranda, who joined Kerala Blasters FC for the 2022-23 season. Miranda was involved in two assists in 349 minutes of football, having a passing accuracy of 60 percent and helping in the creation of 11 chances.
He added variety on the pitch for head coach Ivan Vukomanovic’s Kerala Blasters FC, who comfortably finished in the top six for the second consecutive season.
Jiteshwor Singh (Chennaiyin FC)
Despite his young age, Jiteshwor Singh possesses a good amount of experience. The 21-year-old joined the Marina Machans and has never looked back, getting consistent game time due to his ability to impress on the pitch.
Singh who was involved in 16 matches for Chennaiyin FC, provided an assist and created 11 chances for his team. He had an impressive passing accuracy of 76.24 percent. Singh, and along with Anirudh Thapa, formed a formidable combination in the middle of the park for the Marina Machans.
Ayush Chhetri (FC Goa)
Chhetri first rose to prominence when he was selected to play for I-League side Aizawl FC’s U15 and U18 teams for the Hero Youth League. After consistent performances in the youth teams, the 19-year-old Mizoram player made his debut for FC Goa in the Hero ISL, becoming a pivotal part of head coach Carlos Pena’s side. The Spaniard had young Chhetri in his plans throughout the season, with the midfielder being involved in 20 matches.
Although the 19-year-old failed to register a goal or an assist, he had an impressive passing range with an accuracy of 88 percent, making 44 tackles and 22 interceptions while also helping his side create eight chances.
The Gaurs have had a figure in the middle of the pitch to represent them for a long time with Chhetri, who has good ability and brings quality to the pitch.
Akash Mishra (Hyderabad FC)
Full-backs have been in high demand this season, as evidenced by the inclusion of Akash Mishra on the list of promising young players. The fact that the player has contributed to Hyderabad FC's campaign for as much as 1740 minutes this year demonstrates his importance to Manolo Marquez's team.
The left-back has been on fire this season with 744 passes and even produced nine chances.
Mishra has performed admirably in the defensive end zone, recording 81 tackles, 35 interceptions, 53 clearances, and 33 blocks. Formerly a top player for the Indian Arrows organisation, he experienced a career turnaround after donning the Hyderabad FC jersey.
Lalengmawia Ralte (Mumbai City FC)
It was not surprising that Mumbai City FC paid a high price for an Indian midfielder, especially in light of Lalengmawia Ralte's explosive performances with NorthEast United FC in previous seasons.
Apuia, as he is commonly known, has proven his hype by becoming essential to the Islanders' campaign thus far. Along with having an eye-catching game, the footballer has teamed up with Ahmed Jahouh to form the core of the midfield, which is the tandem that controls play for the defending champions.
Apuia has tallied 672 goals in the Hero ISL 2022–23 season, hitting on an astounding 84.82 percent of his attempts. The 62 tackles, 13 interceptions, 14 clearances, and 15 blocks this season are simply decorations for his already glistening stats.
Jeakson Singh (Kerala Blasters FC)
Jeakson Singh burst into the spotlight in 2017 by competing in the FIFA U-17 World Cup. He was meant for greater things, and he has achieved them.
Singh has been a mainstay in the Hero ISL since 2019 after brief stints at Minerva Punjab, Indian Arrows, and a few appearances for the Kerala Blasters FC reserves. Ivan Vukomanovic, the team's head coach, has no qualms about keeping faith in him despite his reputation for carrying a heavy load in centre midfield, and so far, it has worked out.
The Indian international has been a shield for the defence as well, recording 83 tackles, 28 interceptions, 19 clearances, and 26 blocks in the 2022–23 season with 920 passes at a pace of about 46 passes per game (84.13 percent accuracy).
Brison Fernandes (FC Goa)
Brison Fernandes is the most recent name to join FC Goa's roster of players who have been developed there throughout the years. The youngster earned his Gaurs debut last season, but in the 2022–2023 season he is starting to come into his own.
The 21-year-old advanced in FC Goa's ranks and attracted attention after scoring a spectacular goal against Jamshedpur FC earlier in the season. Soon after, he scored against Odisha FC. His outstanding passing accuracy of 78.18 percent and involvement in three goals in 13 games for FC Goa left the supporters anxious to see him wear the orange jersey for years to come.