Odisha FC midfielder Vinit Rai has given credit to the ISL for providing the stage for Indian midfielders to showcase their talent and groom under renowned coaches to improve their game. The 21-year-old averages 40 passes per game with an accuracy of 82.45 percent in league football.
Since joining Delhi Dynamos, now known as Odisha FC, in the 2017-18 season, Vinit has played regularly for the first team and found his feet in midfield, a place where he truly belongs. At a young age of 21, he is already one of the league’s pass masters with a pass accuracy of 82.45 percent averaging more than 40 passes per game despite missing out on regular first-team action initially. Having clocked more than 2000 minutes in the league so far, Vinit is hoping to continue his growth with the Josep Gombau-coached Odisha.
“Midfielders have transitioned fast. I think nowadays we are more comfortable on the ball and the credit goes to ISL, for providing the setup and bringing good coaches,” Vinit was quoted as saying by the ISL media team.
“We are fortunate enough to train under such coaches and play alongside good players. It helps us to learn new things which we can apply to our game. I just love to have the ball all the time, so I can be more involved in the game,” he stated.
For Vinit, it started with cameo appearances for Dempo in the I-League during the 2014-15 campaign. His first ISL stint came in 2016 with Kerala Blasters FC, before the Assam-born midfielder hopped over to Minerva Punjab and later to Delhi Dynamos. Vinit is part of a new generation of talented central midfielders in India. He has been pulling all the strings from the midfield for Delhi Dynamos for the past two seasons and is now set to represent Odisha FC on a consistent basis.
“At the beginning, I did not get many chances to play at the clubs I was in. But I am thankful and grateful to Odisha FC now. I have grown as a player here. I thank the coaches for putting their trust in me and I am hoping to deliver more performances in the future,”
India national team head coach Igor Stimac prefers players who can move the ball around well from midfield and Vinit being one among them has had the chance to impress the Croat. Vinit was handpicked for the Stimac’s first meet after joining the India team.
“I was a bit surprised to see that, but I am very grateful to him that he has been giving me chances since he has arrived. I made my senior debut under him and I am working hard to prove my worth to him,” said Vinit, a graduate of the famed Tata Football Academy.