LFL Twitter Spaces Podcast: Everything around the Next Gen Cup featuring BFC and KBFC reserve squads discussed

The reserve teams of Hero Indian Super League (ISL) clubs Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters FC are set to experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as they gear up to face youth teams from the Premier League in the Next Gen Cup starting in the UK from Wednesday.

The Blues who won the inaugural Reliance Foundation Development League (RFDL) and the Blasters who narrowly finished as runners-up have earned the chance to participate in this competition that’s set to expose them to a different kind of footballing world in the UK.

As part of the process, the players from the two teams also got to meet and interact with Premier League greats Jermaine Defoe and Wes Morgan who shared their experience and expertise with the youngsters.

Considering the significance of the tournament, the latest Let’s Football Live Twitter Space featuring host Suyash Upadhyaya, Hero ISL experts Anant Tyagi and Darren Caldeira and Aadarsh Dewan, the Hero ISL media individual covering the event in UK was all about the Next Gen Cup and the possibilities it can bring to these players, the clubs involved and Indian football in general.

Listen to the full podcast below:

Here are excerpts from the podcast below:

On the opportunity for BFC and KBFC U-21 teams to test themselves against stronger opponents

Anant Tyagi: There is so much excitement with the PL NexGen Cup. I'm sure those kids from Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters FC are not complaining. What a moment it is for them. All credit to the Reliance Foundation Development League for giving these boys a platform to express themselves, and hone their skills and also massive props to the Premier League for continuing their work with the Hero ISL to support and develop the growth of football in India which obviously provides that brilliant opportunity right for these young players from our two favourite leagues so to say to compete against each other, understand each other's cultures better and as a result.

The average age of the BFC squad is just 18 and a half but even for guys who all made senior appearances, this is still the next step even for Kerala who are using some of their players to be scouted or at least come on the radar of international scouts.

BFC taking on Leicester City or KBFC playing Spurs, even if it's the next Gen Cup, this is the stuff of dreams.

On Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters FC youth players getting the opportunity to meet and interact with Jermaine Defoe and Wes Morgan

Darren Caldeira: For starters, these kids got to meet Jermaine Defoe and West Morgan, that's massive in itself. (These are) two players who have accomplished so much in the Premier League. You could see how focused the kids were every time you know these stars were talking, so I hope they soaked in all the information you know probably got a chance to ask a couple of questions.

You wanna rub shoulders with the best always and you know there's no better opportunity right now for these kids.

They're playing some of the best youth sides in the UK and it's going to be a big test. It's going to be against footballers who are bigger in size, faster and quicker.

I had this exposure trip as a kid when I was 17 and I travelled to Spain where I was so excited to go to Spain, just soak in the culture, and understand how football is there. So I'm sure these kids are doing the exact same right now as there's so much to learn from everybody around them and it's just such a massive opportunity.

On Bengaluru FC's win against AFC Wimbledon in a practice match

Darren Caldeira: I'm gonna be honest there, but that result did surprise me. It was their first game. Yes, it was a practice match, but different conditions, different opposition, and you expect the team to be probably a little more defensive. But if you actually go by the kind of goals they scored and the way they played it, you have to give credit to the boys and Naushad Moosa as they played some amazing attacking football.

And something that stood out is that when you actually looked at the team line-ups and watched both the sides standing next to each other it looked like a David vs Goliath battle, but so much of credit goes to these boys because when they went a goal down, they could have crumbled under pressure or gone into a shell but they reacted, they responded which is what Naushad Moosa would be so happy and proud about. You know the equalised and got that second goal, and then the third.

On Indian players' experience in the UK so far

Aadarsh Dewan: I was able to interact with both teams. The experience is one part, but these boys are here to win. After the game against Wimbledon, I had a chat with BFC captain Namgyal Bhutiya and he said that we are here to win. We were not confident enough when we took the pitch, but after halftime in that match they said that we are going to lift the cup, It's amazing to hear that.

A young guy who's emerging and going to take the field, and lead Indian football and if they're doing this here, they are going to achieve a lot more.

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