Signing for defending Indian Super League champions Bengaluru FC has been huge for Suresh Wangjam, but the path will only get tougher for the 19-year-old with him playing a big role in numerous other competitions. But, the Manipur youngster has everything chalked out for the upcoming season.
Not the most conventional impact player in the squad as such, but the midfield anchor has made a name for himself on the domestic circuit with some disciplined play. And it wasn’t long before Bengaluru FC came calling, following an impressive season with the Indian Arrows last term.
Wangjam repaid the faith almost instantly in the Durand Cup where, playing for the BFC reserve side, he scored three goals in as many games. His goals came in their first group stage game against Army Red and against fellow ISL side Jamshedpur FC B side, against whom he netted a brace.
However, playing in the top tier is a whole different ball game and even before he could play for the first team, he has to impress Carles Cuadrat. And what make it doubly difficult for him are Bengaluru’s new arrivals. In a transfer window, where most ISL sides have gone all out to boost their squad, BFC have roped a creamy layer in the likes of Raphael Augusto and Ashique Kuruniyan. The presence of Erik Paartalu and Eugenson Lyngdoh will not help his cause either.
However, a confident Wangjam revealed that he would rather use this chance to learn everything from the stars rather than think of it as a challenge. “I’ve played against Rapahel before and he is a highly technical player. I’ve been watching him for quite some time now and I know it’s going to be extremely competitive,” he said in an interview with SportsCafe.
“But, I believe anything can happen, and if by any chance, the coach likes me, that’s it. I am not aiming for the first team or the bench. I would just play with them and learn from them. They are experienced players, who have played way more than me. We’re going to practice together and I would focus on the little things from them. That’s what matters the most,” Wangjam added.
In international football, Wangjam reveals he was always in awe of Germany’s Tony Kroos, although time and a growing perspective of the game he has started to like other midfielders as well.
“I’ve always liked Toni Kroos. His passing accuracy, long balls especially diagonal ones, have always smitten me. But, now I have started to observe others as well and the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Luka Modric are great as well,” he said.
As far as drawing inspiration is concerned, Wangjam doesn’t need to look very far for it. His teammate from the U-17 World Cup, Amarjit Singh Kiyam, has been a glaring example of where hard work can take someone. Being called up by new coach Igor Stimac for the probable squad ahead of the King’s Cup, the youngster has been very impressive and it has subsequently seen him become an integral part of this new-age Indian squad.
“Me and Amarjit have been playing together in the midfield for six to seven years regularly. And with him doing big things now in the national team inspires me a lot. Seeing him makes me believe I can also do the same one day. He has inspired everyone in the batch and I know that If I perform, there will always be a chance,” Wangjam signed off.