Hyderabad FC's young gun: How Akash Mishra is a star in the making

If there is any player who deserves much of the plaudits coming his way in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23, then it is none other than Hyderabad FC’s left-back Akash Mishra.

The defender who played a massive role in his side's title triumph in the Hero ISL 2021-22 season, is still going strong in the ongoing season, and is one of the first names to go in the teamsheet in the Manolo Marquez-coached side.

The reigning Hero ISL champions have begun the tournament in some style and much of the credit goes to the 20-year-old from Uttar Pradesh who is in his third season with Hyderabad FC.

Mishra gives a lot of credit to his grandfather, hailing him as one of the main reasons in his journey of being a professional footballer today. He is termed to be just another boy from India who eats, breathes, and sleeps football.

Hero ISL expert Paul Masefield refers to him as a great youngster coming into the side and breaking through.

"Manolo Marquez has trust and belief in him, and I think he's got quality, there's no doubt about that. He's got the pace, he's got the crossing ability, and he's got the finishing ability as well because we've seen him score goals," said Masefield.

"We are speaking about one very complete player who is strong physically. He is left-footed but at times it is tough to recognise him as a left-footed or a right-footed player. He is even better aerially and all these qualities make him the best left-back in India," said a confident coach Manolo Marquez.

“The first time I saw Akash Mishra, he took my breath away. Akash Mishra on the left is an absolutely breathtaking sight for Hyderabad FC and if he does not (go on the left), (he's) down on the right then he goes on the left wing,” said Hero ISL commentator John Helm. He is one such player who stretches the opposition and makes life difficult when he takes on the pitch from left to right and even gets into the centre.

"When I'm on the ground, I'm not bothered by the outside world. I am unaffected by the issues happening outside the pitch. Whatever tensions I have in my life, be it personal problems or family issues, they disappear when I'm playing on the football field. On the ground I only see football and nothing else and that gives me joy," added Mishra on what playing football means to him.

He is termed to be a very important figure at Hyderabad FC. Biggest applause should be given to coach Manolo Marquez to see that potential and provide Indian football with a player of this calibre who went under the radar and remains to be one of the most underrated players in the league even at this age.

His teammates hail him for his incredibly high workrate, which acts as a major boost not only for him but for everyone around the team.

“We at Hyderabad FC are very happy to have him because of the energy that he brings, the kind of runs that he makes which is very difficult to deal with if you play against him,” said Mishra’s teammate and Hyderabad FC defender Chinglensana Singh.

“He is one of the tallest players, he is physically strong and quick at the same time. He is a great left back who understands his position and with the statistics he is providing us with game-in game-out Akash Mishra has to be the best left-back in the country,” said Erik Paartalu who spoke about Mishra after he scored and provided assists for two games in a row during the ongoing Hero ISL season.

Akash Mishra also possesses the ability to recover the ball quickly and go on to score goals even after being a defender, and hence has started moving forward on the pitch quite often. Another of his unique abilities is that he can deliver from set-pieces.

“He recovers easily and is one of those players who can score goals and is good in the air and has started going forward a lot more so especially during the set-piece can add a few more goals to his tally,” said Darren Caldeira while speaking about Akash Mishra, the ever-reliable full-back.

Mishra in his last three seasons at Hyderabad FC has always been a modern day full-back who is able to create chances and score goals. He was always among the goals and assists columns with five goal involvements last season, but is yet to be involved in goals after playing five games so far in this season. Akash Mishra talks about the ambition he has for his current club, Hyderabad FC. The player wants to win the Hero ISL shield and the title. He will always try to give 100% for the team every time he hits the ground running, be it through assists or goals.

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