John Arne Riise is known by many English Premier League fans as Liverpool’s greatest left back in modern history. He is now the backbone of Delhi Dynamos and is leading the charge in the team’s quest for the Indian Super League title. The Norwegian spoke exclusively to The Hindu here on Monday.
How do you rate your performance this season
It’s been pretty good. Playing centre back has been a new challenge for me. Playing with Anas Edathodika has been good, we have a good understanding as he is a very good defender.
I am more of a ball-playing defender whereas he is more traditional. So as a pair, it is working for us. We have the best defensive record in the league.
Your experience working with Roberto Carlos as a manager
He was the reason why I joined Delhi Dynamos. As a youngster, I looked up to him because I am naturally a left back just like him and he has a powerful left foot just like I do. As a manager he is very easy to talk to, but he is a workaholic. If you don’t work hard he will tell you in your face and maybe even punish you with some extra running!
How do you assess the Indian players
In the beginning they were very shy. When I started training nobody spoke, there wasn’t much smiling. They were almost hiding! And I’m the kind of guy who likes to shout during training to pump up the others. I had to tell them that this is how we should go about training and now there has been a huge change. Now players are talking, communicating and are smashing in with tackles.
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, the Indian goalkeeper, is playing for Stabæk in Norway
I know. I met him in Norway. I was commentating for the game on TV and after the game I met some of the players in the team. The keeper wanted to meet me and I obliged. I was shocked to know he was from India. But credit to him for going abroad and wanting to learn. This is what Indian players need to do more. Be brave and pursue foreign opportunities.
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