New Delhi : A number of players have caught the eye after the initial rounds of the ongoing Indian Super League campaign -- one of them being Hyderabad FC's 19-year-old full-back Akash Mishra.
The youngster, who has played every minute of the club's three games so far in his debut ISL season, recently talked about playing in the "high-quality" competition and his mindset on the field.
"It's very nice to be in the ISL. It's a big league with big teams featuring so many high-quality Indian and international players. We would watch them on TV and think of playing like them, and now, we're getting the opportunity of playing with and against them. It's a great feeling," Akash said in a candid chat with AIFF TV.
"Of course, the pressure to play well and win is always there but I don't think too much about it. My philosophy is to keep things simple and execute the plan given by the coach. I feel that the important thing is that you don't think too much about the opponents you will face and instead, focus on your own game and improving," he added.
Making the transition from an all-Indian developmental team to one with a number of senior India internationals and foreigners can be a daunting and challenging prospect but according to Akash, the support from his new teammates has made the process much easier -- both on and off the pitch.
"At the Arrows, all of us were in the same age group but here at Hyderabad, we have many senior and foreign players in the squad. Naturally, it's a bit different and takes time to adapt but the support of all, especially the senior players, has been wonderful. They are very helpful -- on and off the field -- and even in the dining hall, they sit with us, talk and share their experiences," Akash said.
The youngster from Balrampur, Uttar Pradesh mentioned the importance of having the right "character" to succeed at the top level and stressed on the value of quick decision-making on the field.
"Technical ability and fitness are prerequisites to play at this level but one's character also plays a very important role. In a tournament like the ISL where you are around senior players, you cannot afford to be scared. You have to be decisive and once make a decision, you cannot change at the last moment and you have to stick to it. There is no room for half-heartedness. Decision liya hai toh liya hai!"