INDIAN FOOTBALL

Football has shaped me into the person I am today: Ashique Kuruniyan of ATK Mohun Bagan

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Ashique Kuruniyan has risen from the streets of Malappuram, Kerala, to the Hero Indian Super League (ISL). Kuruniyan is an agile and muscular ball runner. He has showed his talent on the field for clubs like as FC Pune City, Bengaluru FC, and currently ATK Mohun Bagan in the Hero ISL.

Kuruniyan made his professional debut at the age of 20 after beginning his career at the Pune FC academy and then going to FC Pune City. A training session with Villarreal C in Spain provided the attacker with much-needed exposure. He moved to Bengaluru FC in 2019. There he spent four seasons before joining ATK Mohun Bagan before the start of the current Hero ISL season. Kuruniyan’s impressive achievements in the Hero ISL helped him secure a spot on the Indian national squad. The striker earned his National team debut in 2018 and has been a regular ever then.

“Football is my life,” he says. “Football has shaped me into the person I am today,” Kuruniyan said in an interview with Hero ISL.

Kuruniyan is known for his flexibility and adaptability, and he can play on either of the wings or as a full-back.

Ashique Kuruniyan

“Ashique is a typical utility player on the left side. We know he can play fullback, on the left side, and as a left winger. He possesses exceptional talent and the ability to score goals. Kuruniyan has the potential to be a huge star in India. He is more talented than most.” According to commentator John Helm.

The Kerala-born forward has appeared in more than 80 Hero ISL games. Kuruniyan’s experience playing under different managers and in different systems has made him an invaluable asset to both club and nation.

“Kuruniyan can fit into any system; he can play left wing, right wing, right wing, and centre back all in the same game,” Hero ISL specialist Paul Masefield remarked.

“He’s a winger, and he’s a fantastic player. “He’s a winger, and he’s a fantastic player. ‘He can win you more games from the other side of the pitch,’ said analyst Anant Tyagi.

Kuruniyan’s lung-bursting sprints on the wings are one of his hallmarks. However, the attacker is one of the league’s quickest players and has an unrivalled work ethic.

“I think he’s like a horse, he runs for 90 minutes and he’s incredibly powerful. “He has a winning mindset, which is a tremendous asset to the squad,” remarked Kuruniyan’s ATK Mohun Bagan colleague Liston Colaco.

“His crossing ability and ability to get inside the box is good, and it’s something that the squad needs,” Kiyan Nassiri said.

Juan Ferrando on his No. 19

Juan Ferrando is the head coach of ATK Mohun Bagan. He has showed faith in the striker by giving him 17 games in his debut season with the Mariners. Kuruniyan has posed a threat to the opponents with his exceptional stamina, which has kept him going till the last whistle.

“The most important thing for me regarding Ashique is to assist him understand his position on the pitch and when it’s time to control or when he has to press,” Ferrando added.

Kuruniyan, who joined the Mariners from Bengaluru FC, has taken on a more offensive position since joining the Mariners. However, this season, the 25-year-old has again demonstrated his merciless ability to take on defenders and cause havoc on the flanks. Kuruniyan has one assist and 12 chances created in 17 games this season.

“He has that freedom forward with ATK Mohun Bagan under Juan Ferrando, and you can always see a different side of him. Ashique Kuruniyan is taking on players. Moreover, he is a powerful and difficult player to play against, “Darren Caldeira, a former player and analyst, stated.

For the third season in a row, ATK Mohun Bagan has reached the Hero ISL semi-finals. They will face off against Hyderabad FC in the final. However, Kuruniyan discussed the team’s goal, and the Mariners are close to achieving it.

“As a squad, we hope to reach the final in this ISL season,” Kuruniyan said.

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