Star India defender Sandesh Jhingan lavished praise on goalkeeper Subrata Paul terming him as the “most workaholic footballer” he has ever seen.
“Subrata-bhai is one of the most dedicated footballers I have ever seen. I have never seen anyone more workaholic like him. If anyone wants to know what real hard work is, one needs to spend just one day with him,” Jhingan said in a recent chat with AIFF TV.
Jhingan shares a camaraderie with Paul who hogged all the limelight for his astounding show during the Asian Cup in Qatar in 2011. He narrated how dedicated Paul is and that’s the reason behind his performing “at the top of his form.”
“This man wakes up at 4 AM — reaches the training ground before everyone, leaves the ground late, mostly after everyone else. Even in sleep, he thinks about football. That’s why he is still performing at the top of his form. What a great man he is,” said Jhingan.
“During one of our camps, Mahesh-paaji (Gawli) had come to meet Subrata-bhai. I was Subrata-bhai’s room partner, and watched them from a distance. That’s when Subrata-bhai called me and asked Mahesh-paaji to put his hand on my head and bless me. Guess what, he actually did that,” Jhingan continued.
“Ten years back when I was 17, I couldn’t believe all these legends mingling with me and making me feel one of them. I used to follow a notebook and note down their match results.”
After India finished as champion in the Tri-Nation Series in 2017, Jhingan was seen handing over the captain’s armband to Paul and letting him lift the trophy. It was Jhingan’s maiden captaincy endeavour before he captained India again against PR China in Suzhou in October 2018.
“I just couldn’t see myself having him there at the back and me lifting the trophy. It came as a random thought to me. I had asked him prior whether he would do something for me. He was eager to know what. Later, when we were called up to lift the trophy, I ran to him and asked him to lift the trophy. I’m happy he accepted it. Everyone was happy, entire India was happy,” the 26-year-old said.