ISL 2023-24: The most impressive Indian debutants so far
In the ongoing ISL 2023-24 season, a crop of new faces has emerged, playing pivotal roles for their respective teams.
The Indian Super League (ISL) kicked off in 2014 with the goal of spreading football across every corner of the country, aiming to identify and refine talent from diverse regions. The development witnessed in Indian football over the past decade can be largely attributed to the introduction of the ISL.
Throughout this period, emerging talents from various parts of the country have showcased their brilliance in India's top-tier league, with many of them earning spots in the Indian football team due to their impressive performances.
Similarly, in the ongoing ISL 2023-24 season, a crop of new faces has emerged, playing pivotal roles for their respective teams. They are now making a mark at the highest level of Indian football, competing alongside renowned players from around the world. These new players have gained recognition through their adeptness at adapting to new environments and seamlessly integrating into their respective teams.
Here's a glimpse of some standout ISL debutants this season.
Jay Gupta (FC Goa)
The Pune-born defender, at the age of 22, has made a significant impact in his debut season with FC Goa. With one goal and one assist in just five matches, Gupta has played a crucial role in his team's unbeaten run. He has quickly established himself as a reliable starter, featuring in every minute possible this season.
An electrifying start for #JayGupta in his debut #ISL season as he wins the Emerging Player of the Month for Oct 2023! 🔥#ISL10 #LetsFootball #ISLonJioCinema #ISLonSports18 #FCGoa | @Sports18 pic.twitter.com/K0nMD3VgqQ— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) November 5, 2023
Sachin Suresh (Kerala Blasters FC)
The young goalkeeper from Kerala has had an impressive start to his debut season, making 16 saves and conceding only six goals in as many games. With two penalty saves displaying his composure, Sachin has played a key role in propelling his team to the second spot on the league table.
Sanan Mohammed K (Jamshedpur FC)
At just 19, Mohammed has displayed remarkable maturity for his age, notably scoring his first ISL goal against strong contenders Mohun Bagan Super Giant.
Hailing from Kerala, the attacking midfielder has made a significant impact for Jamshedpur FC and will be eager to prove his worth under head coach Scott Cooper.
Bikash Yumnam (Chennaiyin FC)
Having joined Chennaiyin FC in 2022, the 20-year-old centre-back from Manipur has solidified his position as a dependable starter this season. Despite his team conceding the most goals this season, Yumnam has showcased glimpses of strong defensive abilities.
Phalguni Singh (NorthEast United FC)
Since joining NorthEast United FC from Sreenidhi Deccan, Singh, 28, has been a crucial figure in the Highlanders' midfield. He scored his first ISL goal in a dominant 3-0 win against Chennaiyin FC. Singh has seamlessly integrated into head coach Juan Pedro Benali's system, showcasing his ability to win the ball, maintain possession, and create chances.
A stunning team move finished beautifully by #PhalguniSingh! ⚽👏#NEUCFC #ISL #ISL10 #LetsFootball #ISLonJioCinema #ISLonSports18 #NorthEastUnitedFC #ChennaiyinFC | @JioCinema @Sports18 pic.twitter.com/bXgv8YE0jF— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) September 29, 2023
Notable mentions: Asheer Akhtar, Melroy Assisi, Dinesh Singh, Harsh Patre.