ATK Mohun Bagan are slowly becoming a team that head coach Juan Ferrando envisioned when he took over the role mid-season during the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 campaign. 

The Mariners made several new signings to realise the Spaniard’s vision at the club, and some of them have turned out to be exactly as expected. However, some of the old guard has also risen to the occasion and formed an integral part of the Ferrando setup at ATK Mohun Bagan by adapting to the new demands of the Spanish head coach. 

Subhasish Bose has been at the forefront in this aspect and is one of Mariners’ most consistent players in the Hero ISL this season. A traditional full-back known for good positioning and incredible ability to defend in one-on-one situations, Bose was already an established player in the league and in the Indian national team. 

But with a growing emphasis on defenders being able to deliver quality on the ball and contribute in attack, Bose needed to add to his game. 

Ferrando is one such progressive head coach and has helped the left-back improve his attacking output. However, he has managed to achieve it without losing out on his defensive solidity. 

“Subhasish Bose is a rare commodity in the modern-day game. He loves defending,” observes Hero ISL expert and former head coach Phil Brown. 

“A lot of times you get young footballers, whether they are Indian or foreign players, they want to show everyone how good they are with the ball. But Subhasish Bose, for me, enjoys the art of defending, and he must be working very hard at this with Juan Ferrando. 

Obviously, Spanish coaches are renowned for their technical ability when their team is in position. But ultimately, to be in possession, you have to get the ball back, and Bose is a player that will help you do that because he loves defending,” he adds. 

Ferrando had used Bose as a centre-back at times last season and also started the first match of this campaign with the 27-year-old playing as centre-back thanks to his solid defensive capabilities and relative weakness in contributing to the attack. 

However, with more options in the centre-back positions, Ferrando slowly transformed Bose into the full-back that he wanted, and the Indian has responded to his head coach’s call. 

After being dropped to the bench for the match against Kerala Blasters FC early in the season, Ferrando wasted no time restoring him in the team although in his preferred full-back role. Bose was brought on at half-time in Kochi and has since gone on to play every minute of the ATK Mohun Bagan season. 

“Subhasish Bose has definitely been the most consistent player for ATK Mohun Bagan. He has always been a good defender and solid defensively but this season under Ferrando he is bombing forward a lot more.”

“You can see him not just getting into the box but winning a lot of headers as well. He is an aerial threat. He is getting on the end of a few crosses. He has already scored a very important goal against NorthEast United FC. He could have added to the tally. He is playing with a lot more confidence now,” notes Hero ISL expert and commentator Darren Caldeira. 

“I think Ferrando has given them the confidence to bomb forward, because defensively, he is pretty sound. Going forward is an area where he can definitely improve. Credit must go to Ferrando as well. He has a knack for improving players, and Subhasish Bose is definitely one of them,” he added. 

Other external factors have also contributed to Bose almost reinventing himself as a more modern-day full-back. The 27-year-old lost his place in the Indian national team with the emergence of Akash Mishra and Roshan Naorem and probably felt the need to pull his socks up ahead of the AFC Asian Cup next year. 

“In the national team, he has lost his place to Akash Mishra. Seeing the younger players, he has realised that he needs a very solid domestic season if he wants to get back not just in the national team but also the starting XI because there are a couple of left-backs who are doing well, so he knows that it is going to be tough. There are a lot of younger players coming in as well so that's one of the reasons why he has got that fire to prove a point,” Caldeira says. 

Bose has scored one goal this season which was a crucial winner against NorthEast United FC late in the match. He will have to continue to add to his attacking stats if he hopes to regain his place in the Indian national team and also help ATK Mohun Bagan fight for the top spot in the Hero ISL. 

However, the second coming of Subhasish Bose that we have witnessed so far this season will provide both Ferrando and Indian national team head coach Igor Stimac a lot of comfort.

Bose will have to keep it going and faces a stern test when he comes up against Odisha FC and their tricky wingers. While most would fancy the left-back to cope defensively, his real challenge would be to drag the wingers to the other end of the pitch and make them do some defending. 

A game featuring two of the title contenders will most certainly be decided by small details and Bose who is a seasoned campaigner will be among the first names that Ferrando counts on to take the team to three vital points.