Impressed with Shubho Paul, German legend Augenthaler hopes India can produce more talents like him
1990 World Cup winner with Germany, Klaus Augenthaler hopes India can produce more talents like Shubho Paul in years to come. 17-year-old Paul was recently chosen in the 15-member Under-19 Bayern World Squad. This was a global online talent hunt and hundreds of teen aspirants sent their training and match videos to Augenthaler and his team. After shortlisting multiple times, they finally came down to 15 players and India’s Paul, who played for Sudeva Delhi FC in the 2020-21 Hero I-League, featured in that list.
“I definitely hope [that more kids come out of India]. India is a big country when compared to Germany, and football is not the number one sport there. But I hope that with more qualified coaches, more talents can come through from India in the future,” Augenthaler told the Indian media in a virtual interaction.
Augenthaler, who played his club football for Bayern Munich back in the day, said he could relate to Paul in many ways. He also went on to acknowledge the mine of talent that Paul is. “Shubho and I have come from similar situations – we both come from small towns, and when I was 16, I had the dream of becoming a professional.
“We definitely saw the quality that he has. But it's very important that he does not put himself under too much pressure. This is a good age to learn, and he should do so with both his feet on the ground.”
The 63-year-old also shared his succinct feedback as to where he thinks Paul can improve. “For one, he needs to improve that left foot. Have to sprout those legs,” Augenthaler said.
Meanwhile, Paul, who was scouted by the legendary Chima Okorie in West Bengal at the age of seven, revealed how greatly the selection news moved him. “I really don’t have any words to describe how I felt after I was told that I had been selected for this programme. I had only joined Sudeva [when he was 12-years-old] with the hope that one day I would play in the Hero I-League,” he said.
Paul, who will fly to Germany later this year for training, went on to share how the virtual interaction with the Bayern coaches was already helping him in a big way. “I have already had a number of video sessions with the coaches at FC Bayern, and we have discussed the importance of working on my strength, and training properly to prevent injuries and practising enough to iron out the weak spots. They have also been teaching me a bit of German, so that it could help me later,” he said.