Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 edition saw the number of foreign players on the field reduce to four from five. The idea was to provide more opportunities to Indian players in key positions so they can develop faster and more efficiently.

The two coaches that guided their teams to the final, Hyderabad FC's Manuel Marquez and Kerala Blasters FC's Ivan Vukomanovic, hailed the change in the rule that allowed more time on the pitch for Indian players.

Marquez who has been using Indian players very effectively since last season said, “If I tell the truth, this is the thing that makes me the happiest. Last season, when we had injuries to our foreign players, it was the moment for young players to show their quality and they played very good football and finally, six players were in the national team.”

Liston Colaco, Roshan Naorem, Sahal Samad, Akash Mishra, Jitendra Singh, Hormipam Ruivah, Vikram Pratap Singh and Ritwik Das are just some of the upcoming players who came up with big performances when their team required it.

Indian players registered 120 goals and 107 assists this season.

Expressing his views on the new foreign players rule, Kerala Blasters FC coach Ivan Vukomanovic said, “It is great for Indian football. It obliges you to push and produce more talent. Even now if you see the role of every season and having at least four developmental players in the squad.”

He added, “It pushes you as a club, as an organisation and as a football federation to invest more and develop younger players. When you develop those players in the correct way, these players will be part of the national team and the national team will be better.”

Most teams in Hero ISL 2021-22 had an average team age of around 25 years. The involvement of more young players in crucial moments has been one of the positives from the season.

Many of these youngsters have been called up to the national team for friendlies against Bahrain and Belarus. It would be exciting to see how they perform in national team colours.