New Delhi, July 6 Young India defender Narender Gahlot has said he tries to emulate senior pro Sandesh Jhingan and admires the amount of hard work the ace stopper puts in training.
On July 7, 2019, when India began their Intercontinental Cup campaign in Ahmedabad against Tajikistan, 18-year old Gahlot made his international debut. He would then go on to score the Blue Tigers' opening goal against Syria nine days later, finding the net with a towering header in just his second international start.
Almost a year on from the moment, Gahlot in a chat with www.the-aiff.com, said: "The biggest learning has been that everyone makes mistakes. But it is critical not to repeat them. As a defender I know which areas I need to improve on and the seniors guide us a lot in that respect as well.
"They are extremely focused and disciplined in all aspects, which makes them a great example to follow. When it's time to have fun, we have fun as well but when it comes down to business, they are really serious.
"For example, Sandesh (Jhingan) paji plays with a warrior-like attitude during matches and is very aggressive. In training, he gives his 100 per cent at all times and is physically very strong, which is something I try to emulate. He also shares his experiences with us from time-to-time, from which we learn.
"Sunil (Chhetri) bhai is such an inspiration for all of us and gives us all invaluable advice. He told me to be aggressive when I am without the ball. When I have the ball, I have to be extremely calm and avoid mispasses. And when I am passing to the midfield or to my wing-backs, the weight of the pass has to be precise and the direction has to be perfect as well. Otherwise, the pressure will come back on the central defenders."
Speaking about his time spent during the COVID-19 induced lockdown days, he said: "It's been a challenging time for everyone in the world and I have tried to make the best use of the free time. I managed to source some gym equipment from my friends and have been using it for my daily workouts. Cycling is also another activity that I have enjoyed.
"At home, I contribute my bit in the daily chores and we even made some sweet dishes such as kaaju katli, gulab jamun and jalebis. Of course, I could not indulge in eating it too much as I have to take care of my diet as well! (laughs)."
( With inputs from IANS )