ISL: "We have to believe that we are better," says Mumbai City's Vikram
Mumbai City FC's young forward Vikram Singh talks about his football career, life, preparation, and challenges ahead in an exclusive interview with The Bridge
Vikram Pratap Singh will start the new season of the Indian Super League with Mumbai City FC against FC Goa on 22nd November. 19 year old, Vikram hailing from Chandigarh, caught everyone's attention in the 2019 U-18 SAFF championship where he scored his first goal in just 2 minutes in the final against Bangladesh. After an impressive campaign with Indian Arrows in the 2019-20 season of I-League, Vikram was signed by Mumbai City FC last season. Ahead of his second season with the Islanders, The Bridge sat with Vikram in an exclusive interview. Here's how he answered the questions.
Difference between Lobera and Buckingham
Mumbai City FC have appointed English manager Des Buckingham as the new head coach ahead of the new season replacing Spanish Sergio Lobera. Speaking on the difference between both coaches, Vikram said, "Both managers are pretty much same, playing style is also similar that is to keep attacking. But personally, I am feeling more comfortable under Des."
Last season Vikram didn't start any match for the citizens with all his 11 appearances coming off the bench. Following up on this, we asked him if he expects more game time under the new coach to which he replied, " That depends upon me but yes I think I can play more this season under Buckingham."
Learnings from AFC U-23 Qualifiers
Vikram was an important member of India's u-23 team which played AFC-23 Championship qualifiers last month. Vikram scored the second goal of the match for India against Oman which India won eventually. Speaking about his experience he said, "When we went there we showed that we can play at this level like them. When we won our first match, we started believing that we can do better so I have come back with that confidence and I am ready to perform."
Vikram also pointed out a drawback with respect to the schedule of the qualifier, he said, "The competition should have been held a little earlier and not so close to the ISL as we had to leave our pre-season and go there. So, teams like us who have got a new coach and new players didn't get much time to prepare together."
On the rivalry with FC Goa
Over the years Mumbai City and FC Goa have developed a fierce rivalry between each other. Both teams have met 18 times in the competition, Goa winning 7 and Mumbai winning 6 with 5 ending up in a draw. The geographical location of both clubs also intensifies the rivalry as bragging rights for being the best team in the west is always on the cards. This time they face each other in their opening encounter Speaking on this, Vikram said, "We are defending champions so there's definitely a pressure to start the season on a winning note and Goa are a strong team as well. But otherwise, we are pretty confident."
Personal Goals and Target
Speaking about his personal goals, Vikram shared that, "I want to first make my place in the starting XI and then I want to perform for the team. Then I want to score as many goals as possible. "
Vikram also talked about the player with whom he shares the best camaraderie. He said, "I have got good relations with Angolo. He is a striker, so on the pitch also, striker and winger partnership is very important and we get along well."
His Best ISL XI
We asked Vikram to name his best ISL XI to which he candidly replied, "I will play all my friends (laughs). It's difficult to make the best XI so I will just play all my friends. Tangri, Gurkeerat, Rahul KP, Amarjeet, Jeakson will play."
On his Milestone Achievement and Best Career Goal
In his young career, Vikram has reached a lot of heights and has achieved quite a few remarkable feats. Talking about his biggest milestone and favorite career goal, he said, "My favorite goal is the one against Bangladesh in the SAFF U-18 Championship final and my biggest milestone is representing India in the AFC U-23 Cup qualifiers."
Career Changing Advice
Lastly, we asked Vikram about one career-changing advice he has received which he will remember throughout his career. He said, "When I went to play for India U-23 recently, there Stimac told me that we have to believe that we are better than others. We are good but we have to be confident always and believe in ourselves that we can do this only then others will believe in us. I feel this is the best advice I have received."
Vikram Singh's confidence at such a young age is definitely inspiring for other youth talents out there and Mumbai City FC fans will hope that their young winger will play an important part in the upcoming season.