A shoulder injury sustained during an Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 game for Kerala Blasters FC against Mumbai City FC in October had kept Jeakson Singh Thounaojam out of action for a long period but he is now back in blue colours of the Indian national team. The 22-year-old midfielder is back to full fitness and is now hungrier than ever to play for the national team again.

Jeakson's presence in the Blue Tiger's team has been significant over the past two years. He has been a consistent player, featuring in 17 consecutive matches, starting from the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers in June 2022 until the King's Cup in Thailand in September 2023. During this time, Jeakson has played an integral part in the midfield, contributing to the team's success.

Jeakson's midfield profile is unmatched in India, making him an invaluable asset to the team, as he possesses excellent ball control and is good at both attacking and defensive play. His ability to read the game and time his tackles correctly has helped him earn a reputation as a reliable player.

Head coach Igor Stimac has recognised Jeakson's importance to the team and labelled him as one of the biggest misses in the squad for the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023. Jeakson's absence from the squad was a significant setback for the team. He returned to action in February and has played in the last five matches for the Blasters in the ISL.

Jeakson, who is excited to rejoin the national team for the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers against Afghanistan, recently shared his thoughts in an interview with the All India Football Federation (AIFF) media team during which he discussed his longest injury recovery period, his return to the national squad, and his aspirations in the World Cup Qualifiers.

"It feels great to be back after a long and hard time. I'm happy to be with the team again. I'm looking forward to the upcoming two games now," Jeakson said.

"The training is going fantastic. Everybody is happy and working hard in every session. We are ready for this fight," Jeakson added.

The Kerala Blasters FC midfielder has been a part of the national team for seven years now and he is fully aware of the responsibility, duties, and obligations that come with representing his nation from a young age. 

"It was the first time I was out for such a long time due to an injury. I had to undergo surgery. Obviously, it was difficult. But the support I got from the coaching staff and my teammates - both the national team and my club - helped me a lot to stay positive during those tough times. Now that I'm finally back, I will try my best, give my hundred per cent in every match, support the team and win," he stated.

Jeakson recalled the previous encounter with the Afghanistan team, which took place in Kolkata during the Asian Cup Qualifiers in 2022. He played for 68 minutes before being substituted and then watched the exciting finish from the bench. Sunil Chhetri's free-kick and Sahal Abdul Samad's injury-time goal secured India's spot in the Qatar 2023 tournament.

"I remember that match in Kolkata very well. It was a great victory for us. But now the situation is totally different. There have been a lot of changes. But what remains the same is that we'll give our best to get three points in both games, home and away," affirmed Jeakson.