Danu: First season with Hyderabad FC has been a great learning curve

18-year-old striker Rohit Danu made his Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) debut in the 2020-21 season. Even though he played just 30 minutes across five games for Manuel Marquez’s Hyderabad FC, those 30 minutes were enough for him to show that he was a mine of talent.

Danu, who joined the Hero ISL club from Indian Arrows ahead of the 2020-21 season, played an important role in two Hyderabad FC goals. His energy and passion for the game drew a lot of attention every time he came on to the field of play. Rubbing shoulders with the likes of Aridane Santana, Joel Chianese, Fran Sandaza and many others is nothing short of a dream come true, especially at such a young age and the Uttarakhand-born player acknowledges the impact of the Hero ISL.

“My first season with Hyderabad FC was a memorable one. The players, the coaches and the staff were really helpful and there was a lot I could learn, on and off the field. At Indian Arrows, there was a lot to learn from the coaches, but in the Hero ISL, everyone, including the players around you are more experienced.

“My teammates at Indian Arrows were pretty good but experience matters a lot and that has been the biggest difference for me in this season,” he told hyderabadfc.co.in in an interview.

Hyderabad FC, in their second season in the league, improved immensely on their bottom-place finish in 2019-20 as the narrowly missed out on the semi-finals. Marquez’s faith in domestic talents particularly caught the eye and earned him a lot of praise. Danu too spoke of him in glowing terms. “Manuel Marquez is a great coach and a really nice person. With me, he was like a friend. He is funny, makes sure that every player and even the staff is comfortable. You can share anything you want with him on and off the field.

“As a coach, his experience is invaluable and what we can learn from him is unlimited. So, my first season with HFC has been a great learning curve for me,” he said.

Danu, who has represented India’s junior teams, also charted his journey through various playing positions on the field. “At the start of my career, I was a midfielder, usually played on the right side. But when I joined the national team, coach Bibiano Fernandes told me that I can be a really good striker. I trained as a striker and learnt a lot under him, especially the mindset of a striker.

“In the camp for the U17 World Cup, coach Luis Norton de Matos told me I can be effective as a winger. I played there a couple of times and the coach was impressed.

“But when I came back from the injury, I had to play all over the field. Even at HFC, coach Marquez told me I can be a good attacking midfielder as I cannot be a striker yet. I believe that playing with confidence is as important as the position that you play in,” the youngster elaborated.

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