Instant impact: The top Indian debutants in Hero ISL 2022-23
The Hero Indian Super League (ISL) has always provided a platform for young players to showcase their talents and make a name for themselves. Since the inception of the league in 2014, a large number of homegrown players have developed their game and gone on to become assets for their respective teams.
Moreover, the league’s regulation of fielding only four foreign players in the starting line-up has provided an even greater chance for domestic Indian players to step up and perform on the big stage.
Like every other season, the Hero ISL 2022-23 season has also unearthed several young prodigies who have certainly gone on to achieve great things in their debut season in the league.
On that note, we take a look at the best domestic players who shone in their first-ever season in the Hero ISL.
Parthib Gogoi (NorthEast United FC)
A prolific striker at youth level, Gogoi signed a multi-year deal in September and has been handed the No 11 shirt. NorthEast United FC have never been reluctant to promote young prodigies, giving them the opportunity to perform at the top flight.
The 20-year-old seized the opportunity with open hands, making a mark with his impressive performances. From scoring a stunner against East Bengal FC to scoring against the League Shield Winners, Gogoi enjoyed an incredible start to his career in the Hero ISL.
He featured in 18 games this season and finished the campaign with three goals and an assist, which is quite impressive for a debutant. Even though the Highlanders had a forgettable season, Gogoi can be proud of his performance and the role he was asked to play.
Aakash Sangwan (Chennaiyin FC)
Sangwan is a seasoned left-back who has previously played for several Hero I-League teams, before making his debut in the Hero ISL this season at the age of 27. He became a regular first-team player for Chennayin FC, replacing Narayan Das at the left-back position. The defender loves to overlap and create an overload on the left-hand side for the Marina Machans.
Sangwan ended the season on top of the chances created chart by a defender, with 26 chances in 19 appearances. He provided five assists, which is also the highest by a defender in the league.
Besides his attacking threats, his defensive contributions were also noteworthy, with 33 interceptions and 36 clearances to his name. The full-back helped his side earn three clean sheets in the league and won an impressive 25 out of his 27 aerial duels.
Ayush Dev Chhetri (FC Goa)
Young Chhetri is another individual who shone in the Hero ISL 2022-23 season. The 20-year midfielder has announced his arrival at the top division with solid displays at the heart of FC Goa midfield.
Getting to feature in each of the 20 league games at this age is a huge feat in itself. Chhetri provided good assistance to his partner, Edu Bedia, and the duo looked quite comfortable on the ball while playing out from the back.
The midfielder is confident on the ball, loves to move forward, and is capable of making a difference in the final third with his telling passes. He finished the campaign with an impressive passing accuracy of 88%. Chhetri also won 22 interceptions, which is the third-highest number in his team.
Lalchungnunga (East Bengal FC)
Lalchungnunga has been quite the find for East Bengal FC who quite nicely stepped into the first XI. The defender is only 22 years old and is already showing incredible signs of maturity. Lalchungnunga possesses mobility, strength, and brilliance in the air, all of which are great attributes for a centre-back.
He knows how to position himself to give himself the best possible chance of winning tackles and duels. Despite not being among the towering defenders, Lalchungnunga has won 37 out of his 38 aerial duels.
The Mizo-born defender is full of life and energy and is someone who loves doing all the hard work for his side. He averaged 1.12 successful tackles per game, won 25 interceptions, and made 86 clearances, which is the third-highest in the league.
Lalchungnunga accumulated 1682 minutes in 19 Hero ISL appearances this season and contributed to two clean sheets.
Jiteshwor Singh (Chennaiyin FC)
Singh is one of the most exciting young prospects at the moment. Only 21, he burst into the scene with his remarkable performances under Thomas Brdaric this season.
The midfielder oscillated between a No. 6 and a No. 8 role and set the tone for Chennaiyin FC’s high-pressing gameplay with his energy, strength, and creativity. His debut Hero ISL campaign saw him play 996 minutes in 16 appearances, missing the other four games due to an injury.
Singh averaged 6.87 good passes in the attacking third every game and also averaged 3.61 recoveries per 90 minutes, which proves how progressive and brave he is with the ball. His best performance probably came in a 1-1 draw against Bengaluru FC on matchday 2, for which he was honoured with the Hero of the Match award.