Chhangte: Europe can wait, right now my focus is Chennaiyin

Lallianzuala Chhangte is back in India after trying his luck in Europe, having had two trials with Norwegian club Viking FC. The youngster is among the most promising players in the country and is now solely focused on guiding his new team Chennaiyin FC back to the top of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL).

The youngster spoke to ahead of the sixth season of Hero ISL, which gets underway from October 20. Here are the excerpts

With a lot of clubs chasing your signature, why choose Chennaiyin?

I felt the move would be the best for me. They showed much more interest in me than other clubs, they made me feel cherished. The coach (John Gregory) even called and told me about his future plans. He is willing to help in my development and I am very grateful to the club.

You had trials with Norwegian club Viking FC, twice. What’s next with your European dream?

It was a great experience for me in Norway with Viking FC. Currently, my focus is with Chennaiyin FC and to help them win back the Hero ISL title. As a player, I still aspire to play in Europe one day, but right now I just want to focus on training hard and performing for club and country.

What gives you hope that Chennaiyin will bounce back after finishing last in Hero ISL 2018-19?

They didn’t do well last year, but that is already in the past. We have new additions and the condition of the squad is nice. The staff is so humble, and I really like working with them. Most importantly, we have a coach who has already won the title and is pushing to bring the club back to the top, where the club deserves to be. That is what we are trying to do this year. There is no doubt that we have the quality to achieve that.

How would you describe the experience at Delhi Dynamos?

They showed their trust in me and it was like a real breakthrough. I am truly grateful. The entire backroom staff was really good to me. I think I would not be the player today if not for their help.

You made your India debut in 2015 when you were quite young. How has your experience been in the national setup?

It was a great experience for me to score on debut and then win the SAFF Championship in 2015. Since then, there have been ups and downs, and over the years, I have learned to remain positive and keep working hard.

On working with Igor Stimac now.

He is a great coach and understands players very well. He is creating a lot of competition between the players so that everyone focuses and no one gets a place for free. If you do great on the training ground, no matter how old or young you are, you will play. He is bringing the best out of all of us.

Chhangte will be in action in Hero ISL 2019-20 and is expected to be an integral part of Chennaiyin FC's push to get back to the top.

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