Subrata Paul: Having a coach like Albert Roca is an asset

Fondly known as the ‘Indian Spiderman’, Subrata Paul is a seasoned campaigner in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) and has made 85 appearances in the league so far, keeping 26 clean sheets along the way. He has played in all six Hero ISL seasons, first starting with Mumbai City FC before moving to NorthEast United FC and then Jamshedpur FC. The 33-year-old shot-stopper’s latest move will see him don the colours of Hyderabad FC in the upcoming season and while discussing how his new club can make a mark on Indian football, Subrata called for patience.

“It’s a huge challenge to pick up a club in its second season and trying to make a mark in the Indian football scenario. So, in that sense, I am also a fresher. Life as a footballer has taught me that despite all your dreams you need to be patient, both on and off the field. My experience as a player and captain of the Indian national team makes me confident that I would be able to help and mould the youngsters in the right frame. At the same time, (I am) aiming to have one of the best club seasons ever under the bar,” the Indian custodian said in an interview with sportstar.com.

Subrata feels Hyderabad’s new head coach Albert Roca is an ‘asset’ to have and he is looking forward to working with the Spaniard, “Coach Albert Roca and his inputs and coaching will surely help the club propel forward. Having a coach like him is an asset, but there’s also a flip side for the players. Even as much as he will be guiding us, he will always be demanding that extra level from the players. He is someone who hates to lose and we as players need to understand the intellect ourselves with his coaching philosophy. I have always watched him from the opposite side – as a rival player. I look forward to working and playing under him.”

The former Indian international went on to explain why he has a special connect with Hyderabad having been a part of the Blue Tigers squad that won the AFC Challenge Cup in 2008 in the same city. “Unfortunately, all these years we didn’t have a club from the ‘City of Pearls,’ and now that we have one, it didn’t take me long to decide on moving to Hyderabad FC and be a part of Indian football’s glory and history. Hyderabad’s love and passion for football is folklore and I look forward to all the fans to back their team and stand by them,” he said.

The talented shot-stopper also praised the impact that the Hero ISL has had on the development of Indian football, Subrata said, “The Hero Indian Super League is a platform which has allowed much transfer of knowledge to Indian players. You get to learn while practising, playing and interacting at length with the foreign recruits, or should I say the big names, and even while travelling with them. It has been a kind of eye-opener for me. Obviously, it’s up to the player to grasp as much as you can when you have a certain Florent Malouda, or an Elano, or a Diego Forlan and others.”

“From my side, it was in 2011 when I got to play against Tim Cahill in the 2011 Asian Cup and he was such a big star then. Some eight years later, we are sharing the dressing room together, travelling together, playing together. So, if I can’t grasp as much as I can from him, it’s my loss. Getting to see them has motivated me to play further and forever,” he added.

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