Nerijus Valskis: Owen Coyle is the reason I moved to Jamshedpur

Winner of the Golden Boot award from the 2019-20 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) season, Nerijus Valskis admitted that his decision to shift base and join Jamshedpur FC was influenced by his desire to play under the club’s new head coach Owen Coyle. The 33-year-old striker was a part of Coyle’s Chennaiyin FC last season and was their main goal-threat during their impressive run to the Hero ISL 2019-20 final, finishing the campaign with 15 goals.

During the latest episode of Let’s Football Live with Anant Tyagi, Valskis expressed his delight in signing for Jamshedpur and spoke about his new challenge, “I am very happy to join Jamshedpur. Because they have never qualified for the top four, there will be more pressure, but I want this pressure. I hope together with the team, we bring them into the top four. We need to believe and work hard.”

The Lithuanian striker pointed at the appointment of Coyle as head coach being the main factor behind his decision to move to Jamshedpur. “He is the most important factor for why I moved to Jamshedpur. I really liked to work with him. I really like what he brings to the training. They (Coyle’s coaching team) bring high intensity, good finishing and this is most important for us. I am very happy to continue my journey in India with him,” Valskis said.

The 33-year-old is looking forward to linking up with his new teammates and excited by the prospect of playing with the likes Narender Gahlot and Jackichand Singh, “Narender is a very good, young talented player with whom I like to play. He is very young, but he is very good. I really can’t wait to start to play with my new teammates like Jackichand (Singh). I believe it will be a great season.”

Another young Indian player who Valskis has been impressed with is NorthEast United FC’s Lalengmawia, “He is very young, but he is very good with the ball. I really like how he controls the ball. It’s not easy to play when you have so much pressure. He is doing a very good job and he does not miss the ball a lot. This is very important for midfielders. All he needs to do now is improve more.”

He went on to talk about Jamshedpur’s chances of winning their first Hero ISL title. “We come (and play football) only to give something to the fans. First, we need to fight for the top four and then we stand a chance to win the title. I believe we have a great team with experience and young talented Indian players. Together we can do a lot,” Valskis said. 

The forward also heaped praise on two of his former teammates and tipped them to have a bright future, while advising them to explore their options abroad. “(Lallianzuala) Chhangte and (Anirudh) Thapa are very good guys. Thapa is very smart and Chhangte is very fast. They work hard and they need more games, and maybe they need a chance to go abroad. Then you have more chances to improve. When you are young, you need a lot more game time like 35-40 games per season. Both still have time to become better,” he said.

“All Indian players who are like leaders in the national team must try to go abroad. You improve more in Europe. This is important for India. They might be afraid to sit on the bench. If they go to a good league and play for the smaller teams and they start to play, it will be very good for them,” Valskis added.

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