Indian Super League (ISL) franchise ATK’s India striker Robin Singh on Wednesday said he would be missing the I-League side and city football giants East Bengal, and if time permits he would turn up for their games.
Unlike the last three years, the ISL and I-League would run simultaneously this season with the latter getting underway from Saturday.
Robin would be plying his trade for defending champions ATK meaning the tall forward won’t be part of East Bengal, a club he stared his career with and helped finish third in the league table in the 2016-17 season.
“I will miss East Bengal. I have been a part of East Bengal and that was the club that gave me the chance to become a professional footballer. I have great memories with the club. Even six months back, I was with the club. So it will always have a special place,” Robin told reporters in a media interaction here.
“I love football. You watch the Champions League, English Premier League and so on and like that you watch the I-League. I am not taking away anything from the I-League. I will go watch the I-League, my friends play in that league,” the 27-year-old said.
Robin has won the Calcutta Football League, the Federation Cup and finished second in the I-League between 2010-2013.
In the ISL, Robin has donned the colours of Delhi Dynamos, FC Goa and now ATK. He was also part of Bengaluru FC since the club’s inception in 2013.
Asked what has been his takeaway from the cash-rich tournament so far, Robin said: “I wake up everyday wanting to learn and do the best in training. I am nothing without the boys I work with. I have been blessed enough to play with ISL teams who accept me as a striker and what I bring to the table as a striker.
“When you work hard as a unit, the coach sees it. Whether I get nine minutes or ninety minutes, I will work hard. My job is to keep my head down and work hard.”
Robin picked up an injury late in 2015 during India’s SAFF Championship campaign and made only sporadic appearances in ISL 2016 for FC Goa, who finished bottom.
Asked if this would be his year of reckoning both in terms of winning back a place in the national team starting XI and club-wise, Robin said: “In this league, I don’t know what is in coach’s mind. I will never question national or club’s coach’s decision. When I am not picked, it gives me an opportunity to work harder.”
ATK were held goalless by Kerala Blasters at home in their opening game. Robin said the only thing he would like the Teddy Sheringham-coached side to improve is winning games.
“The area we might want to improve on is to win games. Again, it was our first game. Focus is to work on our next game,” he said.
ATK take on FC Pune City in their first home tie on Saturday.
“Our job is not to focus on what’s in the other team. Our job is to make the most of what we have and we are strong as a unit. We are working hard and it should give us results,” said Robin when asked about Pune having players like Uruguayan Emiliano Alfaro who played well for NorthEast United last season.
“I would say, it’s only been two games. I think every team we play against wants to give their best. ATK has been champions twice.”