Lalrindika Ralte. (Getty Images)
From the year of its inception (2014), the Indian Super League has kept its promise of giving some of Indian football’s best talents a platform to showcase their skills. Another big aim of the ISL is to help some of India’s most exciting young talent a taste of world class football so that they can hone their skills and learn from seasoned campaigners. The first two seasons of ISL gave an opportunity to the likes of Sandesh Jhingan and Jeje Lalpekhlua to realize their potential. This year too there will be several youngsters looking to put up a great show. News18 brings to you the Top 5 young talents to look out for this season.
1) LALRINDIKA RALTE (Atletico de Kolkata) – 24 years
At 24, Lalrindika Ralte is already a veteran in Indian club football scene. Ralte who started his ISL career with Mumbai City FC will be playing for season 1 champions Atletico de Kolkata this year. An attacking midfielder, Ralte’s specialities are his defence splitting passes and his long range shooting abilities. The Mizo player will be a threat on the wings for his opponents as he will try to link with the likes of Hume and Postiga up front. Ralte has 14 international caps to his name.
2) LALLIANZUALA CHHANGTE (NorthEast United FC) – 19 years
This is the debut ISL season for this youngster. At 19, Chhangte is one of the most exciting new talents in the league this season and will turn out for the John Abraham owned NorthEast United FC. Chhangte appeared for the India U-19 and U-23 teams, but the big moment came last year when he became the 502nd player to represent the Indian national football team. His 2 goals against Nepal helped India win 4-1 in the 2015 SAFF Championships. With NorthEast looking to make the semis for the first time, youngsters like Chhangte will have to be at the top of their game.
3) PRITAM KOTAL (Atletico de Kolkata) – 23 years
At 23, Pritam Kotal has already established himself as one of the best right-backs in the country. Kotal, who plays for Indian football giants Mohun Bagan in the I-League, made his ISL debut in 2014 with FC Pune City. The defender though is back home and will be playing for Atletico de Kolkata this season. Along with his abilities as a defender, his wing play and runs down the flank make him a threat for any defence. Kotal has 13 international caps to his name.
4) VINIT RAI (Kerala Blasters FC) – 19 years
Vinit Rai is a central midfielder who has slowly made his presence felt at the club level. This is the Assam-born player’s debut season in the Indian Super League and his abilities make him one of the young stars to look out for. After playing for the India U-20 and U-23 teams, Rai graduated to be picked for the senior team last year, but he didn’t come off the bench.
5) JAYESH RANE (Chennaiyin FC) – 23 years
An exciting talent, Jayesh Rane is a threat in front of the goal and Chennaiyin coach Marco Materazzi is expected to use the Mumbai-born forward in his starting line-up. Rane played 12 matches for Chennaiyin last season but couldn’t find the target. But has started the 2016 season well by scoring in Chennaiyin’s first match against Atletico de Kolkata.
(This is a sponsored feature and does not necessarily reflect the views of News18 and Network18)