‘Less pressure without fans, risky centre back role’ – Jeakson Singh’s season at Kerala Blasters

‘Less pressure without fans, risky centre back role’ – Jeakson Singh’s season at Kerala Blasters

Jeakson Singh has explained the dilemma of Kerala Blasters’ season and him playing as a centre back…

Jeakson Singh is excited about the upcoming Indian national team stint under head coach Igor Stimac.

Having been a regular in the Kerala Blasters team in the past two editions of the Indian Super League (ISL), the 19-year-old explained to Goal about his fresh set of experiences in the recently concluded season where he has had to play in unfamiliar positions.

What Jeakson had to say

Being called up for the national team camp for the second successive time despite the Blasters finishing a dismal second from bottom with just 17 points from 20 games, he said, “I’m very excited about sharing the dressing room with legends like Sandesh (Jhingan) bhai or [Sunil] Chhetri bhai. There are many other seniors and I’m looking forward to learning from their experience. 

“I was called up (to the senior team camp) last year as well, but because of Covid (Coronavirus pandemic), the camp was cancelled. So I was confident that if I perform well this season, I would stand a chance to be called up again. So it was all upon me to give my best.”

Beginning the season in his regular defensive midfield position, Jeakson was deployed as a full back mid-way through the season by former Blasters coach Kibu Vicuna who was sacked after a 4-0 defeat to Hyderabad. Jeakson pointed out the need for the experience of playing at the back.

Assessing his centre back role

As the season grew older, Goal had published a study on the former U-17 World Cup star playing as a defender as compared to a defensive midfielder. Jeakson explained that playing a centre-back was slightly tougher for him. 

“It’s similar to a defensive midfield position but it’s a bit more risky to play in defence (as a centre back). You need more experience to play in that position. A defensive midfield role is much more like a free role without much pressure. But since I have trained as a defender before, I was ready to play wherever I got a chance to play,” Singh continued.

“Overall, it was a good season but we were not getting the results that we were expecting. We were losing from winning positions, like after leading 2-0 (against ATK Mohun Bagan) we lost 3-2. We lost to Mumbai City (2-1) in the same manner (losing a lead). Otherwise, the season has been good.”

Inadvertent power of the Yellow Army

Jeakson also said that he would have preferred to play in front of the Kerala Blasters fans rather than play behind closed doors, due to Covid restictions.

“At one point, there was less pressure this season. Playing in front of fans invites more pressure. But there is a different kind of pressure. On the ground, it felt like we were playing friendly matches but we knew that we were playing for the points. Motivation is more playing in front of fans,” Singh admitted.


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