For a footballer, the off-season doesn’t last long. “It ends even before it begins,” jokes senior India team member Shouvik Ghosh.
In a freewheeling interview to AIFF Media, Ghosh spoke at length about the upcoming season, the difference in tempo between an international and a domestic match, his dream and his fascination for Borussia Dortmund defender Neven Subotic.
How have you been utilising the break?
(Smiles over the phone) It’s the off-season. Footballers travel all over the year and hardly get to spend time with near and dear ones. So everyone is making the most of it. I went to visit my Mama’s (Maternal Uncle) House in Murshidabad. I’ve been there so many times but the history of the place is just so captivating.
But recently, I have gone back to the arena I’m best known for – the ground. Presently I’m practicing in Uttarpara and my colleagues from the India U-22 Team – Narayan Das and Pritam Kotal have also joined me. It’s not serious practice but with pre-season soon to kick-off, we need to be ready and stay in shape.
How do you look back at the last season?
On the technical front, I know I’ve matured a lot as a footballer. I had played for quite some time but some minute changes made me a different player; I’d say, a more confident one. But there’s so much more still to learn. It was also another season when most of our batch from Arrows bunch played together. This year, Milan (Singh), Deepak (Devrani), Vishal (Kumar) have already signed for other clubs and maybe, there will be more whom we will be finding on the other side of the field when we play a match.
What about you?
I’ve a contract with All India Football Federation and will be honouring it. In fact, not only me, but most of us.
When you look back at the last season, which moment do you cherish the most?
If you look at the I-League, nothing could have been better than our 2-1 away victory over Dempo SC. It was our best performance of the year. We outplayed the defending champions and that too, in their own den.
If you look beyond the I-League, I’d say, me being a part of the senior national squad was the best moment. Besides, we played some outstanding football in the U-22 AFC Qualifiers in Muscat.
The tempo of an international match is much higher than a domestic match. How do you cope up with it?
You need to learn to cope up and play at that level. It’s all part of an ongoing process. Right from the preparation to a match to the diet to the fluids intake to the meditation, everything is different. Even at the U-22 AFC Championship where I represented my country, the intensity and speed at which it was played was much higher.
I maintain a diary where I note down scope of improvement and work on it. I’m lucky enough to learn from the sidelines. I’m a newcomer and have settled down. But it’s a learning curve.
What are your targets for the next season?
The primary target is to debut for my country. I’ve come close but haven’t got my chance. No player can demand it as you need to be better than the XI who are playing. I wait for my chance, my dream.
Which player were you fascinated by in the Champions League Final?
To me, Neven Subotic, Borussia Dortmund’s Serbian defender stays a class act. I have been following him for some time. His anticipation and presence on the field inspires me a lot. He’s so confident and so mature. I like him very much.
(AIFF Press Release)