Joining Mumbai City FC permanently was the best choice for my development: Lallianzuala Chhangte

Winger Lallianzuala Chhangte believes signing with Mumbai City FC on a permanent basis having put pen to paper on a three-year deal is a step in the right direction as far as his development is concerned.

Chhangte who joined the Islanders in January on loan from Chennaiyin FC made the switch permanent last month and feels the City Football Group-owned team will help him become a much better player.

"It is the best choice for my future development. They are linked with the City Football Group so that can help me become a better player. Who knows, there might be a possibility to play outside India if I perform well,” Chhangte told Hindustan Times during an interview.

"They are serious about football, not just wanting to compete in India. We saw that in the Asian Champions League, we weren't just participating there, we were performing. Mumbai City has a plan which is a very good thing for a player,” he added.

After a disappointing second half of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 season that saw them miss out on the semi-finals spot, Mumbai City FC impressed in the AFC Champions League delivering the best performance by an Indian club in the competition as they finished second in their group.

Chhangte delivered strong performances in those matches, proving the potential he has.

“It was a great experience for the whole team, not just for me. I feel very blessed. We are not just representing Mumbai City but the whole country,” the 25-year-old said about playing in the AFC Champions League.

"We were there in the ACL the whole time. We could have done better but every time we played a match we made it so difficult for the opponents. They are all strong teams, we knew that, but we were competing. Some of those players later told us that we are a very hard team to beat. That tells us that we are improving a lot. If we work hard then soon we will be able to compete consistently in Asia," he added.

Having signed for Mumbai City FC, Chhangte wants to reignite his career with the Indian national team ahead of next season’s AFC Asian Cup. The winger was part of the 41 member squad ahead of the recently-concluded qualifiers but couldn’t make the cut to the final squad.

Chhangte though remains upbeat about becoming a key player for India in the future and suggests that he is working towards making him capable enough to land a starting spot in the team.

"I was there in the 41-player list but unfortunately I wasn't in the final squad. They did a pretty good job in the qualifiers. I will be back soon, that is for sure," said Chhangte.

"This only makes me stronger. When one opportunity is gone, another comes and I am not going to just stand still and think oh, I am not in the national team. My mindset is always that I will give my best for the country and the club and I am going to be one of the main men for the team," added Chhangte.

The winger is the third-highest Indian goalscorer in Hero ISL history and has already made 97 appearances in the league. At 25, it is time for Chhangte to slowly deliver on his potential and become a key player for club and country.

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