Exclusive: Bengaluru FC wonderboy Gursimrat Singh Gill speaks to Jersey ahead of AFC Cup Finals

Team Jersey  |  Tuff-Questions  |  2 Years Ago

As football is flourishing in the country, the homegrown talents are emerging as the leaders to take Indian football to its rightful stage. From Chhetri to Pal, most of them were born and raised within the country and went on to become some of the elites the world is today proud of. One of the names which the country is swearing on is the Bengaluru FC boy Gursimrat Singh Gill. 


Linked with Inter Milan and Tippeligean league, Gursimrat was born and brought up in Chandigarh where he learnt football from the age of 11 at Chandigarh Football Academy for five years, before being drafted into the AIFF Regional Academy in Navi Mumbai from where he went on to represent the country. The journey hasn't been easy, but interesting—says the 19 year old defender. 


Called to be “The pride of Punjab”, Gursimrat has earned his name as one of the best young defenders in the country early in his career. He's been prodigious with the iLeague champions, Bengaluru FC and due to play for India very soon. The sweet boy of Bengaluru answered all the tough questions gracefully, beyond being diplomatic and thats the trait which reflects in the way he defends…

JERSEY:  How big is the opponent Iraq Air Force for Bengaluru FC?


Football is a game. As a footballer we aren't taught to measure any team as big or small. We wont be able to win if we start quantifying that. The simple mathematic is that the team will win who plays their heart out on the pitch. 

We know Iraq Air Force is a strong team. They have some Iraqi national team players in their side. Having said that, we’re well prepared for the game. Our coaches and support team worked hard to give us all the warranted information needed to know the opponent, and we’re ready to face the challenge.


JERSEY: Despite having won in the Semi’s against the Malaysian side, Bengaluru was lacking the quality in defence, how do you make up for that?


It’s a game, and errors are inevitable. In the last game against JDT, they made many errors which is why we could score thrice, but as a professional player, it’s an individual’s responsibility to rectify that error and move on to get better. And as far as our errors are concerned, I can only say that we conceded just two goals in the last four matches, which is the proof of our improvement every time we touch the ball. And there’s no shame in saying that we make mistakes. 


JERSEY: What’s the strategy Albert Rosa adopting to deliver the maiden AFC Cup to India?


Hard work is the only strategy that Albert is instilling in us. He just wants the team to give its 100% and play with the ball rather than just kick and run, keep the ball and press it hard. 


JERSEY: How does he help the team(and you) overcome the pressure situations? Whats his mindset in crucial moments?


We have some big names in our team who don't need to be taught how to play. The coach helps everyone with the idea—So be it the technical nitty-gritties or the special moves. He helps us getting back to the strategy in tough situations rather than helping us kick. He’s a practical person. 


JERSEY: What message did the coach give in the last game half-time when both teams were levelled at 1-1?

Albert is the coach who speaks very less. He’ll tell you what to do and what not. In the game against JDT, he told us that we had the game, apart from the instructions that he gave to move the ball over flanks and press harder and that worked out for us eventually.


JERSEY: Who do you see emerging as the leader in the squad, with Chhetri progressing towards retirement.


Chhetri is natural leader. He leads by example. We have many players  like Eugene Lyngdoh, John Johnson, Alvaro Rubio etc. They are all leaders. I think Lyngdoh is the other name the country chants [Other than Sunil Chhetri].


JERSEY: How big is the stage for you here at Bengaluru, coming from India U-19?

For me it’s really huge. Especially coming from the three month long injury. India U-19 too matters to me as I get to wear the Indian shirt but that stage is more about learning and getting better. Playing for a big club as Bengaluru is like getting on a bigger screen. The whole scene changes as you start playing at the top level.

JERSEY: As you’re on a year long deal, where do you wish to settle, if its not Bengaluru?


As I’m young, I don't have much experience about another iLeague club. If you ask me, I don't want to leave Bengaluru, for their professionalism and the capability to uphold world class players.


JERSEY: Clubs like Mohan Bagan or East Bengal have a massive history and have quality players, would you consider if they come calling?


I don’t know anything about their work ethics. I want to keep my decisions in the cupboard until I learn about the other iLeague clubs. You see I’m already overawed by Bengaluru and having a good time here. However, should I choose, I’d go with East Bengal or DSK Shivajians. But at the moment all I’m thinking of is playing my best football with Bengaluru and if that happens, I’ll renew my contract here.


JERSEY: Where do you see yourself in the upcoming years as the Indian football space is emerging?


In the upcoming years, I’m sure the world will be proud of India. If you see the way we played against Puerto Rica, we scored goals and defended our lead well. Some of the young players like Daniel Lalhlimpuia, Rino Anto, etc. are also getting to play regularly. With younger players to play at the bigger stage, your outcome may be delayed, but will be better. 


JERSEY: And were you offered a deal by any ISL club? And given a chance, where would you choose to land?

There’ve been talks but so far I haven't been offered anything. Given a chance, I’d like to play with Chennaiyin as they have some world class players and their charismatic manager, Marco Materazzi.


JERSEY: Have you been offered any trial by an overseas club?

I was at the Nike All Asia Camp in 2013. Myself and Bidyananda Singh were selected to play with the All Star Team at Doha. I was also being looked at by Inter Milan scout (As I was told by my manager). But to be honest, I was absolutely cynical about the whole thing back then, but now I think that you never know when the opportunity comes calling. You have to believe in the moment, be it football or life.


JERSEY: Your U-20 teammate Muhammed Ashique Kuruniyan has joined Villareal, what are your ambitions going ahead?


Predominantly, I want to improve myself in India for a while. Of course, who doesn't want to join Europe to play football in, but that’ll come much later in my career. At this point, Bengaluru is my home.


JERSEY: There were speculations about your joining Norwegian club alongside compatriot Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. What do you make of that?


All Rumours[Laughs]. Gurpreet and I come from the same city and that’s that. 


JERSEY: Who’s your role model in football?

King Ramos. I’m a diehard Real Madrid fan.


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