Robson’s mantra for Indian footballers: Get supremely fit

By Abhishek Roy, IANS
Sunday, September 5, 2010

NEW DELHI - Get supremely fit: That’s the simple advice former England captain and manager Bryan Robson has for Indian footballers after watching them in a friendly against Thailand.

Robson, who now coaches the Thai team, is clear that the Indians must work hard on their fitness if they want to make a mark in the big league.

He, however, is impressed with the skills of the Indian players and feels they are good enough to his wards a tough time in their return friendly at the Ambedkar Stadium here Wednesday.

The 53-year-old Robson, after one look at the Indian team, coached by his compatriot Bob Houghton, in the Bangkok friendly at the Yamaha Stadium Saturday, straightaway said the boys have to improve their fitness a great deal if they have to compete at the international level. The Indians had lost the Bangkok game 0-1.

“This was the first time I saw the Indian team and I must say I was impressed by their showing irrespective of the result. The result was on expected lines as it was an away game for them. But I expect a tougher match in Delhi,” the former Manchester United captain told IANS from Bangkok.

Famously known as “Captain Marvel,” for his lung-bursting runs, Robson said that Indians should have a structured fitness regimen.

“It is not that my players are well built, they are physically a lot fitter than their counterparts. Thai players can beat the Indians in speed. If you look at the South Asian teams, they have moved up in Asian football and world football only because they are quick on the field. Look at teams like Japan and the two Koreas, they can outrun any team in terms of speed on any given day,” said Robson, who captained England 65 times.

Robson liked India’s open style of play and said they can do wonders if they work on their fitness.

“When you play an open game, the players should have the stamina to run the length and the breadth of the field for more than 90 minutes. I feel if the Indian players work hard on their stamina they can really do well. Some of the players I found also have good height and that gives the team an advantage in the air as well,” he said.

Asked if the 4-4-2 combination, the most preferred style of British coaches and adopted by Houghton is helping India, Robson said: “Can’t say much about that, because every coach has his own style and I am sure Bob must be playing the team in that formation because he has achieved some results.”

Robson is surprised that India is nowhere in world football.

“It is surprising that despite being such a huge developing country, Indians are nowhere in world football. I am sure there must be a lot of talent in the country and with proper infrastructure and a good professional league, India can move into top-100 in world football,” he said.

Robson is unhappy that Thailand, co-hosts of the last edition of the Asian Cup in 2007, won’t be seen in action in the continental tournament.

“It is sad that we are not playing the Asian Cup. But that also comes as a new challenge for me to take the team to the next Asian Cup and the World Cup,” said the Manchester United’s brand ambassador, who joined the Thai team in 2009.

Asked what prompted him to take up the job of a national team, Robson said he was looking for a challenging job.

“I was enjoying my job at Manchester, but I missed the challenge of developing the team. The job of an international manager was what I wanted. I needed the competition in life and now I want to take the Thai team to the Asian Cup and the World Cup,” he said.

–Indo-Asian News Sevice

Filed under: Football

will not be displayed