John Burridge: Not long before an Indian player reaches Premier League

Former Aston Villa and Sheffield United goalkeeper, John Burridge is an individual who after enjoying a stellar career that spanned over 30 years, still succumbed to the inclination of being related to the game. “Football has taught me that there is a big world to see and experience,” said the Englishman in a recent interview with the indiansuperleague.com. “The sport has given me a new life and has taught me to keep the faith and live to the fullest.”

Moulding youngsters

The 67-year-old is currently employed as the goalkeeping coach of the Kerala Blasters. Keen to use his experience from the playing days to help the players, Burridge said, “Time has come to pass on my knowledge to the young kids of now. Today there are so many young and talented footballers around the world, waiting for a chance to prove themselves. If I get a chance to spot them and if they are dedicated enough, I’ll put in all my efforts to make their dreams come true.”

India and Gurpreet

Burridge also identified the character of the Indian players as something he was very pleased to witness. “The mentality of the players here is also great. They want to give it their all. This will help them reach great heights. It is not long before an Indian born player will make it to the Premier League and once that happens it will open big doors for the country.”

Bengaluru FC and Blue Tigers No.1, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was also in fact scouted and recommended to major European clubs by the Englishman himself. The Blues stopper, according to Burridge, possesses a unique feature which sets his game apart. “Firstly, his determination. He also had the right physical attributes. Despite being tall, he could move his feet like a smaller fellow. He is also a quick learner.” 

Hero ISL influence 

The former Manchester City stopper went on to praise the Hero ISL’s influence on the development of Indian football. “Young kids who are passionate about football need a target, a goal they can achieve. That’s what the ISL has given them. It has shown them that they can follow their passion and take up the sport as a profession and make a life out of it.” 

Kerala and Eelco Schattorie 

The Blasters have had a very busy summer window so far, changing quite a chunk of their playing and management staff. Burridge was brought in as a result of that intent, and he explained his choice at length, citing the environment, presence of youngsters and the fans as the key features behind the move. 

“India was next on my target and Kerala Blasters is the largest club in the Hero ISL, so there was never a second thought when I received an invite from the club. I’m very happy to see the enthusiasm that Kerala has for football and the efforts the club is taking to develop the sport and take it to greater heights. Also, the people here in Kerala have been superb. More importantly, the facilities here at Kerala Blasters are great to work with.”

Lastly, the Englishman showered praise on the Blasters new boss Eelco Schattorie, listing the things he most liked about him. “I’ve known Eelco for years. He is a good friend.  As a coach, he is one who is very dedicated to the job he is assigned to do. He wants the game played right and pushes players to do their part in the team. However, he is not just a boss, he is very lively and great to have around,” he finished.

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