Football

Navaneeth Rajagopal – The next big thing in Kolkata Football

Navaneeth Rajagopal of Gokulam Kerala FC is among the most promising talents from the 2019 batch. The 19-year-old winger can play on both flanks and has excellent footwork.

Navaneeth notably spent his youth days in the Arsenal Soccer School and was also in the PSG Academy in Oman for six months.

“It was a great opportunity for me. When I had the opportunity to train at the Arsenal soccer school, I was quite young. It helped a lot to improve my technical abilities and improved my understanding of the game.“

The youngster continues, “I also spent some time with the PSG Academy. Oman is a country with strong football culture. I spent the majority of my childhood in Oman.“

Navaneeth was initially a part of the Gokulam Kerala U18 team with whom he had the opportunity to play in the U18 I-League. The competition, however, was cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We (the Gokulam U18 team) had the opportunity to train as a unit for six months, and it was a fantastic experience. There, I learnt a lot about the game and what it demands from a player at that level. We were unfortunate to be hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused the cancellation of the league. It was a wonderful learning experience for me.“

The winger shares his experience playing in Bengal, “Kolkata, like my hometown Kerala, has always had a strong passion for football, and I expect the game to be very competitive. I am looking forward to the difficulties ahead and hoping for a great season here.“

Gokulam Kerala, has emerged as one of India’s top talent hotspots over the last few years. Consequently, it has become a shopping destination for ISL clubs eager to bolster their squad with young and promising players. Some of the players that have made the transition from Gokulam to the Indian Super League in recent seasons include Naocha Singh, Jestin George, Deepak Devrani, Vincy Baretto, and Mohammed Irshad.

Rajagopal will be one to watch in the coming years, as the youngster has the ability to compete at the highest levels.

“I am looking forward to playing in the Premiere Division,” the Kerala-born forward shares with IFTWC about his future plans. “It is a league that demands a lot of quality and hardwork, and I am looking forward to the upcoming season. My main goal is to gain as much match experience and learning as possible. I’m here to contribute positively to the team.”

Navaneeth is managed by Niesant Alvares through his agency Gr8ness Sports. Alvares adds, “Navaneeth is a promising young footballer. He’s quick, agile, and composed, and at 19 years of age his future looks promising.“

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