Jerry Lalrinzuala: Thrilled to have extended my stay with Chennaiyin
One of the brightest talents to have emerged from Chennaiyin FC over the years, Jerry Lalrinzuala recently signed a contract extension with the two-time Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) champions. The 22-year-old full-back, who featured in 14 matches for the Marina Machans last season and provided two assists, expressed his delight after extending his stay at the club.
“I am thrilled to have extended my stay with the Chennaiyin family in our quest to bring home the ISL trophy for a third time. There is an atmosphere of learning and improving as much as it is about getting results on the pitch. And that balance has always been maintained at Chennaiyin,” Jerry told goal.com.
Following an underwhelming Hero ISL 2018-19, Jerry was on the periphery of the first-team last season before the arrival of former head coach Owen Coyle. Under Coyle, Jerry enjoyed an upturn in form and the talented left-back believes that it was the 54-year-old head coach’s belief in him and other players that led to their turnaround.
“The arrival of Owen Coyle last season led to a return in belief for me and a lot of other players in the squad. Even when the chips are down, we had to keep working hard and not give in. Coach Owen and assistant coach Sandy Stewart came in and helped us focus on the minor things on the training pitch, and also provided a keen focus on game management,” he said.
The Indian full-back felt he learnt a lot under his former head coach as well as the coaching staff last season, and he hopes to continue playing in a similar manner in the upcoming campaign. “I benefitted immensely from their coaching and I’m thankful to them for receiving a continued run in the side. My hope is to pick up where I left off and continue in the coming season,” Jerry said.
The 22-year-old also heaped praise on the Chennaiyin faithful for their constant support through the tough times last season. "The unconditional support of the fans also played a massive role. Not just for me, but for everyone within the team as we were facing a slump up until the win against Hyderabad FC that proved to be a turning point. The fans really rallied behind me and the entire squad, and that belief played a huge role. We knew that we had to give 200 per cent for the fans who are gunning for us," Jerry shared.