New Delhi: India defender Adil Khan highlighted his love for defending, and the close bond that he shares with goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and Sandesh Jhingan, in a freewheeling interview on AIFF TV.
Adil felt that he was lucky to have the likes of Sandesh and Gurpreet to aid him for the defensive triumvirate that was spectacular in the iconic 0-0 draw at the home of the Asian Champions, Qatar last year.
“I am lucky to have such teammates in the national team. Unfortunately, we can’t play in an ISL team together but in the national team, we make a great defensive wall for India,” said Khan.
Speaking about the bond he shares with his centre-back partner, the defender from Goa said, “In the national team, we started training together and that’s when we started building our bond to know each other well. He is very loud. He guides all the players, and me being senior, I still give him the opportunity to talk because he is louder than me and he guides well,” said Adil.
“I also know how powerful and strong he is. Whenever I make mistakes I know he is there to cover up and I think it’s the same for him. We try to talk a lot, not only when we are playing matches but also afterwards when we are in the canteen or dining room, that’s how we build the bond,” continued Adil. “I would like to play more matches with him. I feel more secured while he’s around as a central defender.”
He also spoke about the calming presence that the 6ft 5in Gurpreet brings to the Indian goal, “To have him in the team it’s a security and you know if you make any mistakes, he is there to cover-up. We have seen the best performance from him against Qatar. His attitude and positivity was amazing. He will be one of the best goalkeepers that India will see in the coming years.”
The 32-year-old went on to state that though he has been an admirer of David Beckham for long, following the game of former Blue Tigers defender Mahesh Gawali helped him a lot.
“I used to follow David Beckham, in my younger days, but since I started playing as a defender, Mahesh Gawali-bhai has been my idol. For so many years, he was one of the greatest defenders I have seen in India,” said Adil.
“He is so calm, so talented, and a great person. I am one of his biggest fans. I met him a couple of months back before lockdown and he is still fit enough to play top level football. We used to go to the same fitness centre, where I would meet him during my pool and gym sessions. He is still working on fitness, and it’s so good to see that.”
When answering a fan question, about how he continues to grow younger each day, Adil said that he follows his National Team captain Sunil Chhetri’s fine example. “I follow Chhetri bhai’s footsteps. He is becoming younger than every one of us. I follow him very strictly. He is always there to support you and guide you in terms of fitness, diet, what you do in the gym and on the ground. That’s the only thing you can do to keep yourself fit.”
One of the most important tips that Khan has picked up from his captain is the importance of a healthy diet.
“A few years back I started focusing more on diet in the off-season, eating proper food. That’s the reason I think we are keeping fit at this age also. For me, being from a Muslim family we love to eat a lot of biriyanis, and meat. It’s difficult for me whenever I am at home and my wife and mother make sweets, but we have to sacrifice some things to follow the right diet and proper lifestyle,” said Adil.
“We should think about diet and lifestyle more. It brings happiness, and we should follow it even if we are not athletes. It’s important to become healthy, not only for footballers but also in general – everybody should follow a proper diet,” stated the 32-year-old.
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