This opportunity came suddenly. Manchester United enjoys one of the biggest fan following for an European club in India. According to a survey, out of about 160 million football fans in India, 35 million are Manchester United fans! United fans, wherever they are in the world, have a different kind of passion. That’s why they understand the importance of setting foot at Old Trafford and absolutely nothing can beat the opportunity to play there.
No outsider is allowed to set foot on the iconic turf of Old Trafford, but European teams are now realising that one of the ways to grabbing eyeballs is attracting the fans in India. That’s why three journalists, including this correspondent from NDTV, were included in a promotional tournament along with former India captain Renedy Singh, former India player Robin Singh and many young talents.
The important thing was that through this, the picture of the condition and direction of Indian football became a bit more clear. United and Bulgaria’s superstar footballer, who has also played football for Kerala Blasters, Dimitar Berbatov says, “Indian footballers definitely have talent. But they don’t play according to the plan. They often fail to show their skills.”
Many things about Berbatov can be a lesson for young Indian footballers. On the other hand, former England and Man United goal machine Andy Cole says, “There is talent in India and they seem to have the ability to come forward. Apollo Tyres’ efforts like Road To Old Trafford are a big opportunity for everyone. If planned, Indian footballers can be seen shining in EPL as well.”
The Indian footballers, especially, were very excited to come here. Former Indian captain Renedy Singh said: “It is a big thing for anyone to come and play in Manchester United. But we have to first fix our infrastructure and the district, state-level game in India. There have to be opportunities for them. Then move forward to this level. We can think about it. First, we have to talk about the Asia level and then the world level.”
All the players and experts who came on this occasion of Manchester United definitely believe that in order to take Indian football forward, one needs to keep an eye on the pace of European football.
As part of Apollo Tyres’ Road to Old Trafford (RTOT) campaign, four teams were selected from across the country and three journalists were also included in it.
(Courtesy: Apollo Tyres — Disclaimer: This story has been written courtesy of Apollo Tyres for their Road to Old Trafford campaign)
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