Youngster Sumit Rathi may not be first-choice for defending Indian Super League (ISL) champions ATK Mohun Bagan but the Indian football player is ready to prove himself whenever he is summoned.
“Coach sir (ATK Mohun Bagan’s Antonio Lopez Habas) has always said that professionals have to be prepared to deal with any situation. I will be ready,” Rathi told PTI.
The 19-year-old Sumit Rathi made 14 appearances for ATK in their title-winning campaign last season and his impressive performances led him to being named the ISL Emerging Player of the 2019-20 season.
But the competition for places has got tougher as ISL 2020-21 season starts later this week.
ATK Mohun Bagan have recruited India internationals Sandesh Jhingan and Subhashish Bose to bolster their defence.
That leaves Rathi most likely starting from the bench - but the youngster believes he will still get a chance.
With the ISL being held in a bio-bubble in Goa behind closed doors, the league has also decided to allow five substitutions per game to keep the squads injury-free, following in the footsteps of La Liga, Bundesliga, and the UEFA Champions League.
The new substitution rule gives Sumit Rathi hope of being involved more in a new-look ATK side, which has combined with one of India’s most iconic sides in Mohun Bagan.
“This time five players will get a chance to play as replacements. I will prove myself if I get a chance,” he said.
Sumit Rathi’s impressive displays last season for ATK also earned him a maiden call-up to the senior Indian football team’s national camp. However, the camp was scrapped due to the pandemic and the teenager wants to be a regular feature for India soon.
“If I play well, I will be called up again. It is my dream to play regularly in the Indian team,” stated Rathi.