Arshdeep confident Odisha FC will bounce back in Hero ISL 2021-22

Odisha FC goalkeeper Arshdeep Singh got plenty of game time in the 2020-21 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL). Compared to nine matches and 741 minutes in 2019-20, he got 16 matches and 1440 minutes in the recently concluded season.

Even though Odisha FC had a season to forget as they finished bottom of the table having conceded the most number of goals (44) among all 11 teams, Arshdeep had his moments of brilliance in goal with 64 saves, a record for the season.  

The 2020-21 edition was played behind closed doors across three venues in Goa and Arshdeep, in a chat with sportslightmedia.com, made no bones about the fact that the fans were sorely missed, and that the team will bounce back in the 2021-22 edition.

“It was hard to stay in the bio-bubble for five months because you can’t meet your family and friends. You can’t go out for a change. But I think we all managed it very well by keeping a very good atmosphere in the team and kept just one aim in our minds to give our best for the team and gain positive results,” he said.

He continued: “However, the season didn’t go as planned but I am pretty much sure that we will bounce back in the upcoming season. The energy that you feel when the fans are around and they cheer you seemed to be missing. I missed that part in the last season.

“Fans’ presence is important because it boosts the players and helps them perform even better. But I would really like to express my gratitude to all the fans. They have been amazing and they have always been most supportive even though we were not at our best.”

The 23-year-old, who won the Hero I-League with Minerva Punjab in 2017-18, also stressed the importance of working harder when things are not going your way. “I think it’s about self-belief and a lot of hard work. You always have to believe in your abilities and work even harder when you’re not playing because you’ll always get your chance and when you get it, you should be prepared as that’s the chance you had been working so hard for.

“All these things keep me going when I don’t get enough playing time and that’s what I always tell myself. It’s just that I always try to give my best for the team no matter the result or circumstances. I think as an individual I have done some good things and also made some mistakes which obviously I learn from, and try not to make the same mistakes again,” he said.

Talking about his move to the Hero ISL side ahead of the 2019-20 season, Arshdeep said: “…Moving to Odisha FC from Minerva Punjab was a very important step for me because that’s where [Hero ISL] every footballer in the country aims to be after playing in the Hero I-league. It’s like one step forward to your dreams and I was very happy and excited when this move happened.”

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