By Jayant K. Singh
New Delhi, July 10 (IANS) Former Manchester City legend Paul Dickov feels that Indian football is growing slowly and for faster and better results India needs to improve its facilities and work hard on the right age groups.
"For me India needs to improve a number of things. You should have the right facilities so that children from the right age get the chance to train under capable coaches. Apart from that India needs to concentrate on children from all age groups," Paul told IANS in the sidelines of an event organized by smartphone company Tecno.
The Scottish former professional footballer, who played as a forward from 1990 to 2011 for clubs like Arsenal, Manchester City, Leicester City, and Leeds United is in India to connect with a huge number of City fans based in India through Tecno, which is Manchester City's major commercial partner. Tecno and Manchester City signed 3-year extension deal of their partnership here on Wednesday.
Former Scottish national player and the holder of the iconic number-9 jersey at Manchester City, where he played more than 200 matches said that right now the Indian football team is doing considerably well with the facilities it has.
"Football is growing slowly in India and that's why India needs to be patient. You can't expect your national team successful every time with an average kind of facilities, average coaching. Indian national team is doing well but for improved results, a lot has to be done. When you start investing at the right place, results are bound to come but before that, you need to have patience," Paul said.
Dickov believes Manchester City are at the beginning of what could be a glorious trophy-laden era.
City secured their second successive Premier League title (their fourth in seven years), FA Cup title, EFL cup and FA Community Shield last season. Apart from that the club played the quarter-finals of the Champions League last season.
Dickov expects plenty more success in the coming years for Pep Guardiola's exciting team. The 47-year-old said: "I just think they are going to get better and better all the time.
"Look at the age of the squad. I know you've got Vincent (Kompany), Sergio (Aguero) and David (Silva) but look at Ederson, (Aymeric) Laporte, (John) Stones, (Benjamin) Mendy, Bernardo Silva, (Leroy) Sane, Raheem (Sterling), Gabriel Jesus - they're all 23-24."
"When you look at what they have won already at that young age and what they could go on to do, they are only going to get better. Champions League is in line this year, I guess because they want to win everything. They want to rule the world and become a number-1 club," Paul said.
When asked who is better according to you, Messi or Ronaldo, Paul said: "It's difficult to compare. Both are excellent. Messi has his own qualities and Rolando has his own. They speak different languages on the field."
In his first season at Manchester City in 1996 Dickov played under five different managers (three full-time appointments and two caretakers). Steve Coppell is one of them. Later Coppell joined Indian Super League in India as a coach and worked for three different clubs (Kerala Blasters (2016), Jamshedpur FC (2017) and ATK (2018).
Asked if there is any plan to join the ISL like his former coach, Paul said: "There is absolutely no plan to join any team anywhere as a manager. I have played for 21 years and have managed two teams in England. But now there's no plan to continue this job."