MUMBAI: Days after Anas Edathodika acknowledged his admiration for fellow defender Sandesh Jhingan, the latter revealed his ‘brotherly’ bond with the former while donning the national colour.
“10-12 years ago when I was 13-years-old, I used to play with my elder brothers. The feeling was very special when I played with them. When I play with Anas, I get that same feeling. It’s a very good feeling when I play with him, he is a brother to me, he’s my elder brother,” Jhingan said on the sidelines of the ongoing National Team camp in Mumbai.
Meanwhile, since Anas’ National team debut which came against Cambodia last year, these two boys have given the opposition attackers a run for their money having secured four clean sheets in eleven matches when Stephen Constantine fielded them together at the heart of the defence.
“I learn from him, he is a top guy, very humble, I just feel lucky to be his friend. Hopefully, we will continue to play together and win trophies together with the national team”, Jhingan further added.
The Punjab-born defender who has notched four crucial goals for India until now expressed his desire to add more to his tally if the situation demands. Although, he didn’t forget to mention that his primary duty is to hold the defence and that’s what he’ll never compromise.
“Of course I want to contribute in attack (chuckles). I want to score or assist as many goals as possible. But if anyone asks me if you have a chance to score a goal or keep a clean sheet, then as a defender my priority would be to keep a clean sheet”, the calm and composed centre-back declared.
On being asked about India’s prospect in the Hero Intercontinental Cup, Jhingan commented, “This is the first time India are playing Kenya and they are a different team, the way they play football and the way it is played in their continent is something new for us to experience. I know they are going to be physical, but it will be a good test for us.”
He further added: “In the Asian Cup, we are going to get physical teams. Bahrain is a physical team, so is UAE. So now if we play teams like Kenya we will get to know our weaknesses and on what aspects we need to work on before the Asian Cup.”
Moreover, he did mention that these matches will help the team get a clear understanding of their preparation for the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 which is on the horizon.
“You don’t want to go and play against teams that are not strong or not at the same level. You want to play against teams that always keep you on your toes because that’s how you learn.”
“The friendly games are vital. Of course, the result is also important, but more important is to learn from them and you only learn when you play tough teams. To go into the Asian Cup in our best shape we have to play against tough teams,” Jhingan mentioned.