Young Indian midfielder Anirudh Thapa, in a chat with Goal, opened up on the upcoming AFC Asian Cup and his excitement of participating in the biggest Asian tournament. The Chennaiyin FC midfielder talked out working with senior players, their desire to progress through the group stage and the healthy competition for places in the Indian midfield.
On his feelings before the start of the tournament:
"I’m excited for the tournament. It is an achievement to play the Asian Cup for the national team. We are looking forward to it and will give it our best shot. As we do not know when we will get another chance. So everybody are looking forward to it.
Everybody are excited and boosted up. Everybody wants to play for the national team and football is becoming a big thing in India now. Everybody are prepared for the tournament."
On the influence of senior players like Sunil Chhetri and Sandesh Jhingan in the squad:
"The senior players are motivating us. They are helping us out on and off the field. Sunil bhai, Jeje bhai, Sandesh bhai, Gurpreet bhai, they are all helping us. They know that it’s a big thing for them and for us also.
We are getting an opportunity at this age. They tell us everyday we need to get better and work hard so that when we go there we do not have any excuses."
On the approach they will take for the group stage games:
"No one will give in easily. All teams will give their best. UAE is at their home and will give it their all. Thailand and Bahrain are good sides too.
Every match is like a final to us and we need to give it our all. We will fight hard and try to make it through the group stages."
On the competition for the two midfield spots in the first team:
"There is good competition in midfield. It is good for me. There are senior players and junior players. I can’t take my position for granted. The coach will pick only the best.
Final words for the supporters:
"The fans are the 12th man for us. Whenever they shout and cheer for us, we are motivated. Please do come and watch us if you can do so at the stadium. It will be a great booster for us."
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