Lallianzuala Chhangte is one of the most talked-about names in Indian football in recent times. The winger has mesmerized the fans with his dazzling pace and footwork, whether for club or country.

He recently became the first Indian player to register 10+ goal contributions in the Indian Super League (ISL) in consecutive seasons, as his inspiring form helped Mumbai City FC clinch their second ISL Cup trophy.

The Mizo-born player burst onto the scene when he was called up to the Indian national team back in 2015 by then-head coach Stephen Constantine at the age of just 18. He made his national team debut against Sri Lanka during the South Asian Football Federation Championship, coming on as a substitute for Robin Singh.

He featured off the bench again in the following fixture against Nepal and struck a brace, inspiring the Blue Tigers to a 4-1 win, a moment which he will remember for a lifetime.

"The first time I got called up for the national team, it was special. That is one of the days that I will always remember.

"The first goal I scored for India was special. Outside the box. Beating one player. That was a very beautiful goal,” Chhangte told

But for him to come to this stage or the journey from being a boy to a man, has been nothing short of inspiring. But his hard work and unwavering passion for the game have now seen him evolve into a game-changing player.

"So, I think I've learned a lot as a player and as a human being because it's a completely different responsibility once you are with the national team. In the ISL, you have foreigners who can help you but in the national team, you have to stand by yourself and rely on your ability much more than the club,” he added.

The winger shares insights into his playing career so far. At 26, he already boasts over 30 appearances in national colours and has scored seven international goals.

Now, he aims to take the next big step in his career by assuming more responsibilities, improving his gameplay, and becoming a role model for younger players.

"I think I've been more mature in terms of decision-making, in terms of working and playing alongside my teammates. This is still just the start of the journey that I'm bound to take. I think there is a lot of responsibility to take. It's more about being an example for my teammates, especially for younger kids. You can perform, you can have a good match. But without your teammates, you are nothing. So for me, it's all about teamwork and getting along with my teammates. That's what I'm trying to do daily,” he commented.

Chhangte reflects on his early days in the national team and the impactful words shared by Indian captain Sunil Chhetri that served as a source of motivation. Additionally, he sheds light on three exceptional qualities of Chhetri that have made him an exemplary figure, inspiring not only Chhangte but also others around him.

"I have huge respect for Sunil bhai because of first - how he looks after himself, secondly - his work ethic, and third - his humility. When I first joined the camp back in 2015, he welcomed me and when I came onto the pitch, he called me and told me this - do your best, enjoy the game, play it simple and do whatever you want. That stayed with me since then.

"Being him is not easy. And I really respect the way he carries the national team,” remarked Chhangte.

The Blue Tigers are gearing up for their upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifier clash against Kuwait on June 6 in Kolkata, a match that will mark Sunil Chhetri's final appearance in national colours.

Currently occupying the second spot in the points table, securing a victory is imperative for India to advance to the third round of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers, a feat they haven’t achieved before.

"Apart from that, with this game, we can honour Chhetri Bhai as well because he deserves to win this. But he can't do it alone. He can't score a goal by himself all the time. He can't give an assist by himself all the time. Someone has to step up. So I hope and I believe that it would be me and my other teammates as well," Chhangte signed off.

The match between India and Kuwait is scheduled to kick off at 7 PM. It will be broadcast on Sports 18 1, Sports 18 1 HD, and Sports 18 3, with live streaming available on JioCinema.