Ferrando backs his ward Martins and wishes Blue Tigers the best ahead of the Doha qualifiers

The last few months have been quite extraordinary for Glan Martins. The Goa-born player, who learnt his football at Sporting Clube de Goa and Churchill Brothers, made his Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) bow with ATK Mohun Bagan in the 2020-21 season. Very few opportunities at the Mariners, however, forced him to move to FC Goa during the January transfer window, and there he took to the club like a duck to water. He played important roles in the Gaurs reaching the semi-finals and then finishing third in the AFC Champions League.

More reward came his way last week when national coach Igor Stimac named him in the 28-member probables list for India’s remaining three matches of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers in Doha. It was a maiden call-up for the 26-year-old midfielder.

To discuss the evolution of Martins in the last few months, there cannot be a better authority than Gaurs head coach Juan Ferrando himself. “Since Glan joined FC Goa in January, he has been working very hard. He has been very involved in everything the team does -- both in training sessions and in games. He has shown himself as a player who is willing to learn, improve and help the team achieve its goals.

“I think the most outstanding thing about Glan is his involvement in daily work and in understanding the game. He makes good choices and involves the teammates playing around him. Glan reads the game well and most importantly, enjoys himself on the pitch,” Ferrando told indiansuperleague.com in an exclusive interview.

Martins is at present in Doha and is training hard with the bunch ahead of the matches against Qatar (June 3), Bangladesh (June 7) and Afghanistan (June 15), and -- who knows? -- he may soon get an opportunity to play in India colours. Does Ferrando think he will go far with the national team? “I hope so, as he has the skills and is a hardworking player. I wish him and the whole team the best. I wish the best for all the 28 players in the squad and hope the national team can achieve good results to boost the present and future of Indian football,” the Spaniard said.

How about Martins’ performances in the AFC Champions League, did he see any noticeable progression in his game? “In both the Hero ISL and the AFC Champions League, the whole team has progressed as a group and each of the players on an individual level. That's what it's all about, that's our goal: game by game we want to improve at the tactical level. I hope that Glan continues progressing in FC Goa and in the national team. Regular game time usually improves a player’s performance with each passing game,” Ferrando said.

Finally, how important is Martins in FC Goa’s scheme of things for the next season? “Everyone is important at FC Goa, as there is always something to learn from one or the other. Football is a team game and this is what I look to instil in players every single day.

“They have to trust each other and play as a whole. Additionally, I don't like to set expectations for the future but try to motivate everyone to do their best and see how far we can go.

“I am now more concerned about the pandemic situation in India and hoping all improves soon. This has to be the priority right now,” the 40-year-old concluded.

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