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Foreigners in ISL can learn from Indians: Ex-Kerala coach Phelan

Coach Terry Phelan feels that foreign footballers in the Indian Super League can learn a lot from Indian players.

IANS | New Delhi |

Former Kerala Blasters coach Terry Phelan feels that foreign footballers in the Indian Super League (ISL) can learn a lot from Indian players both on and off the field.

Phelan, who played 42 internationals for Ireland as a defender, believes the ISL should be more about the national players than the foreign marquee footballers.

“Foreign players can learn from Indian footballers,” the 50-year-old said.

“We can learn from each other, we can learn from their (Indian players) mentality, sometimes we need to sit behind them, listen and work.

“Five or six foreign players alone cannot carry the entire team,” Phelan, who made 104 appearances for Manchester City, added.

The Manchester-born also heaped praise on Indian football team star players Sandesh Jhingan, Sunil Chhetri and Robin Singh.

“Jhingan, centre-back … he is big and strong, you can learn from him,” the former defender said.

“What makes him play better, what makes him tick? I feel Sunil Chhetri is doing well, Robin Singh as well. There is a lot to learn from them. It (ISL) has to be about the Indian players,” Phelan said.

Despite Kerala Blasters ending last in the 2015 ISL season under him, Phelan said he is ready to re-join the franchise if given an opportunity. He is cuurently on the SONY TEN experts panel for the Champions League.

“I think it’s a dream; as a coach you love to be involved in the ISL,” he said.

“Would like to join Kerala Blasters again. If not the Kochi outfit, any ISL team would do; they have got great fan bases.” Phelan added.

Former English football stars Dimitar Berbatov, Wes Brown and Robby Keane are part of the ISL as marquee players in the ongoing season.

But Phelan feels that despite their advancing age, these players can still contribute for their respective sides.

“Just because they are playing in the ISL does not mean they won’t be able to contribute,” the former left-back said.

“May be the players won’t be able to run as much, but in the 60-65 minutes they spend on the field, they will be able to create chances and allow their teammates convert it into goal,” Phelan said.