THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

Ashley Westwood: Chhetri sets an example for others to follow

Ashley Westwood

The opportunity to create a bit of history for themselves is inspiring new I-League outfit Bengaluru FC’s Head Coach Ashley Westwood.

In a freewheeling interview to AIFF Media, the former Manchester United youth product spoke on pre-season, pros and cons of starting with a new club, the forthcoming I-League, Indian national team captain Sunil Chhetri and much more.


How is the pre-season going?
It’s been going very well. All the players are enjoying the training and applying themselves in a professional manner. We’ve shown some real improvement, especially with fitness.

What are the pros and cons of taking over a new club?
There is always a big scope for improvement. There’s no history at the club and hence, we are not competing against any of the previous teams that have won laurels. We have a chance to create a bit of History and name for ourselves.
At the same time, as it’s a new club, everything needs to be built from scratch.

What prompted you to come to India?
JSW’s plans and ambition for the future prompted me to take up this job. I spoke to the owners and liked their proposal.

How much of an idea do you have about I-League?
When I first got approached I didn’t really have much of an idea about the I-League. But I’m a fast learner and I’m taking my research very seriously. The two months since I first spoke to the owners, my knowledge has improved vastly.

You have the Indian national team captain Sunil Chhetri. What’s your take on him.
He’s one of the most talented Indian players on the field. He also brings a lot to a football club in the fact that he is a good leader, very professional around the place and a great example for the other players to follow.

What are your plans for the upcoming season?
We want to bring a professional, well-disciplined and organised team to the I-League who want to play football the correct way and set some high standards for the players to achieve.

Are you happy with the squad at your disposal?
Yes, we’ve put together a well-balanced squad with the flexibility to add three or four more players in the areas that we feel we may need a bit more strength in depth.

What kind of finish are you looking at in the first season?
We aim to improve on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Bengaluru FC are a new club and we want to build some solid foundations that will stand us in good stead for the long term future.

(Interview courtesy AIFF Media)