For FC Goa midfielder Glan Martins, who recently signed a new three-year contract with the ISL outfit, his career ride has been eventful.
From being on the fringes at ATK Mohun Bagan to being one of Goa’s main players, last season’s breakthrough not only made Martins one of ISL’s most solid midfielders but also opened up the door to the national team where he dazzled under Stimac’s tutelage in the FIFA World Cup and Asian qualifiers.
With the new ISL season set to begin in November, Martins spoke to the media about feeling at home in FC Goa, Juan Ferrando, constantly learning from his peers and seniors in his club and the national side, and more.
Next season, the ISL will be undergoing major functional changes. A notable one is the increase of Indian players from six to seven in the matchday squad, leaving just four spots to foreigners. Quizzed about the possibility of the rule impacting the team’s functioning, Martins said, “I don’t think it will have any effect because we have already played with that rule in the ACL [AFC Champions League] and I think we did quite a good job at that time. So I don’t think it will change the team’s gameplay.”
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Martins’ exploits last season with Goa, where he bagged a goal and an assist apart from being a solid presence in the middle of the park, was a big reason for his national team callup.
Recalling the time when he was informed by Stimac that he would be starting against Qatar in the qualifiers, he remembers being happy but not nervous.
“I was not that much nervous because earlier I had played in the ACL so I knew how things were at that time…playing in the international level. It is difficult, the game pace is fast and you don’t get much time on the ball. Playing in the ACL gave me more confidence. That’s why I think I did well in the national side. Also, the coach believed in me and that also helped me a lot.”
A big reason which drives Martin according to him is his constant hunger to learn – be it in his club, where he said players like Edu mentored him, or the national side, where he fed off the rich experience shared by senior players Sunil Chhetri and Sandesh Jhingan.
This drive to learn, coupled with consistent game time, which he wasn’t getting at ATK Mohun Bagan, helped Martins polish his football and perform well for his team.
With more limelight comes more pressure, but Martins said it doesn’t bother him too much. “I never like to escape the pressure. I work hard in training and whatever I learn in training, I take it to the game. I give my all during matches and training and that makes things easier for me.”
FC Goa head coach Juan Ferrando has been an instrumental figure in uplifting’s Glan’s career and he admitted that the vision and roadmap he presented was a major reason behind him signing a long-term contract extension. He said it makes him “really happy to be home.”
“The coach is really a very good guy. He is friendly with all of the team and keeps the team together. I think that is very important. If you do a mistake he will correct you and motivate you….. He is always ready to help,” said Martins.
Martins also spoke about the raging coronavirus pandemic. Having already played in a bio-bubble last season, he felt it will be easier to cope with the necessary complications the bio-bubble brings next season as players are used to it by now.
Speaking about how he was dealing with the pandemic mentally, Martins said, “It is not only a problem for me but all around the world people are facing problems. But then, we are lucky because we are getting to do what we love to do. Thankfully, we can spend some time with our families. We have to adapt to this and keep doing what we love.”